Earth Hour is Saturday March 31st at 8:30 pm local time!
Earth Hour started in Australia in 2004 and has spread around the world every year since. All you do is shut off everything in your house for an hour. In America I cannot say that it has really caught on. I am not sure if you know anyone who has ever participated. I participated in Earth Hour a few times over the past few years and I hope more people do this year. Four years ago we went to our neighbors house and had a nice dinner by candlelight (we made sure our lights were out before we walked over to their house).
There are lots of fun things you can do for Earth Hour:
- Have your friends over for a barbecue. Cooler full of drinks and a grill to cook the food, who needs electricity.
- For those of us in the north light a fire in the fireplace, make smores and just enjoy the company of the ones you are with.
- Have friends over and play board games by candlelight (or flashlight).
- Camp out in the backyard.
- If there is a planetarium near your home contact them. Many around the country are doing special star gazing events or go to for more information: http://stardate.org/nightsky/ or http://skymaps.com/downloads.html
- Try and organize a neighborhood wide block party or barbecue and get everyone to shut off their lights. It would be a good way to get to know your neighbors right!
- You could use the time to change all the light-bulbs if you have not done so already or make other energy-efficient changes in your home.
- If you have kids let them have a sleep over and do fun things with the kids by candle light to help them learn more about the environment.
How to prepare:
Shut off all your lights (this is the basic way to celebrate)
Unplug all your lights, appliances… everything… yes you will need to re-program your alarm clock, your cable box will take a half an hour to load the guides back into your box, and you will have to climb behind your furniture and move things to do this but this step is what really saves the energy. As you probably know even when your lights and appliances are not on they are still using electricity.
Image: The skyline of Toronto during Earth Hour and on a normal night.