Turn Off The Light (Earth Hour 2013)

What are you doing at 8:30 pm on March 23rd? Are you doing something cliché like going out for a nice dinner and a movie? Instead, how about joining millions of people from around the world by participating in Earth Hour, an event where you shut off your lights to express your concern for the environment and show support for planet Earth.

Earth Hour is the brainchild of WWF, the World Wildlife Fund. Earth Hour began in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, when 2.2 million residents turned off non-essential lights. Since then, Earth Hour has spread to 152 countries and is considered the largest symbolic mass participation event in the world. Last year lights were turned off in historic landmarks like Big Ben, the Taj Mahal, and even the International Space Station.  For Participants and events nearby where you live check out the interactive map at Earthhour.org.

In addition to ‘lights off’ challenge, Earth Hour also has a “beyond the hour” global challenge called “I Will If You Will”. The idea behind “I Will If You Will”, which is based out of YouTube, is simple. Participants can make a promise to do something if a certain number of people promise to take a particular ongoing action to help the environment. Last year Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr promised to conduct a free yoga class if 500 people created challenges of their own. Some of the wilder “I Wills” this year include promising to dress like a super hero to go around collecting  used batteries, promising to play the piano for 8 hours nonstop, promising to eat 100 Oreos with mustard on top, and promising to swim with a great white shark.

To tell you the truth, when I first heard about Earth Hour I was skeptical about what turning your lights out for an hour would accomplish. It is not possible to get everyone to turn off all their lights and to return earth to its natural darkness, but after investigating Earth Hours website, I began to understand the impact of the a symbolic gesture of turning off excess light.

Where I live I am lucky if when I look up into the night sky I can see a dozen stars. Pledging to participate in Earth Hour will give me the opportunity to theorize what life would be like if we all used a little less electricity and our factories created a little less smog.  Opting to live Earth Hour by candle light can equal a fun or romantic evening, not to mention how not relying on artificial light, like from electronics or the TV, could improve your sleep. It is important that every person considers  how their every day actions effects the environment, participating in Earth Hour forces people to do that.

I strongly suggest checking out Earth Hours website, beside the “lights off”, and “I Will If You Will” campaigns the website also has educational games for children.

Earth at Night via Shutterstock

by Maddie Perlman-Gabel

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