Earth Hour is an initiative that is becoming a worldwide phenomenon.
Last year, during its first worldwide observance, 36 million to 50 million
people observed by turning off their lights for one hour. During that hour,
hundreds of tons of carbon dioxide emissions were saved from going into the
atmosphere. Will this year be bigger and better than 2008? The World Wildlife
Fund, which runs the initiative is hoping so, and so are environmentalists all
over the world.
So, how can you observe Earth? Here are 27 ways to observe Earth Hour
and make a bigger difference in the environment.
off your lights: This is an easy one because that is what Earth Hour is
your electronics: Earth Hour is not just about turning of lights in your
home, it is also about energy conservation. Unplugging your electronics is
a good way to conserve energy in your home.
off the television: When was the last time your family and you sat around
with candles, just talking, playing a game, or reading? The television
uses energy, so turn it off for the hour and discover the art of
communication and reading again.
incandescent bulbs with CFLs: CFL bulbs not only use about one-fifth of
the energy that a typical incandescent light does, they also last up to
ten times as long.
off the porch lights: Some homeowners only turn off the lights inside
their house, while leaving their porch light on. For Earth Hour, how about
turning off that light too?
off the computers: Just like the television, computers draw power and if
you are not using them, why not turn them off for that hour to help
to your neighbors: Last year, while our lights were off, several of our
neighbors still had their lights on. A good way to observe Earth Hour is
to talk to your neighbors and ask them to turn off their lights for Earth
Hour. You can make it a block-wide initiative that serves as an example to
the rest of your community.
for a walk: With all the lights off in your neighborhood, going for a walk
can be a great experience. With less lights, especially in a small
community, you will see more of the stars. As well, you will develop a
greater appreciation for the outdoors and realize the affect light
- Eat a
cold dinner: It takes energy to make a hot meal, and that energy means
carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. During Earth Hour, why not make a cold
meal of salad, sandwiches and more. One cold meal a week with your family
can greatly reduce the amount of a carbon footprint that you have.
off the heat or air conditioning: Earth Hour, as we have said, is about
energy conservation. Heating and cooling a home is the third largest
source of carbon dioxide emissions in the world, so why not turn off the
air conditioning or heating during Earth Hour? It is only for one hour, so
your house won’t get that cold or hot.
an energy conservation schedule: With your family during Earth Hour, try
and create a schedule that will allow you to reduce energy. Scheduling a
cold dinner, allocating one hour a week to having everything off, and more
can help you reduce your carbon footprint, and help get your family
involved in the process as well.
drive: During Earth Hour, the desire to go out and get something to eat or
do something may be strong. However, by driving your car during Earth
Hour, you are negating the very carbon dioxide emissions that you are
reducing back home with the lights off.
a camp fire: The emissions from a camp fire will be very small, so you are
not negating what you have done with the lights in your home. Plus, having
the family sit around a camp fire can be a lot of fun and you may notice
you are out there even after Earth Hour has passed.
up your recycling: During Earth Hour, help conserve energy by gathering up
everything that can be recycled so you can take it to the recycle depot
the next day. Recycling saves thousands of tons of carbon dioxide every
day, so it is important that we all recycle whatever we can to help the planet
and to reduce our carbon footprint.
solar panels: Solar energy is free, plentiful and effective. The sun
releases more energy in a year, than our civilization could use in a
thousand years. Putting a solar panel in, while expensive at first, will
save you money in the long run. If you can’t put in a solar panel, they
you could just install some solar lights outside in the yard rather than
using electric lights to illuminate the backyard.
off the ceiling fans: While ceiling fans are great at cooling down rooms,
or even warming them up, during Earth Hour you can conserve the energy and
turn off the ceiling fans.
tea on the stove: If you need to make tea then instead of using your plug
in kettle, you can use the stove (if possible). Heating up a kettle on the
stove will use one-third the energy that a plug in kettle does.
the commitment to always wash clothes in cold water: About 80 to 90
percent of the energy that is needed for washing clothes comes from
warming up the water. To conserve the energy, in the spirit of Earth Hour,
wash your clothes in cold water.
clothes on the line: If possible, use Earth Hour to make the commitment to
begin drying your clothes on the line, rather than drying them in the
dryer, which uses a lot of energy to get those clothes dry. Using the line
uses the power of the sun to dry your clothes. It is free, effective and
the leaks: During Earth Hour, take a candle and go around to all the
windows and doors in your home. If the candle flickers when you are
standing next to a window, it means that there is a leak. Take some
caulking and seal up that leak. By sealing leaks in your home, you can
greatly reduce the amount of energy that is lost in heating it.
the chargers: During Earth Hour, make sure you have not only unplugged all
your electronics as we mentioned, but unplug the chargers for your cell
phones. Even if your cell phone is charged, the charger is still drawing
power. If you just have the charger connected to the wall with no cell phone
attached, it is also still using energy.
Energy Star: During Earth Hour, you should make the commitment to replace
your old appliances with Energy Star appliances. Energy Star appliances
use a fraction of the energy that older appliances do and will save you
money in the long run. Make sure you recycle your other appliances
properly if you replace them.
the dishwasher: If you are going to do dishes during Earth Hour, you can
use the dishwasher. Many people find this odd but an energy efficient dishwasher
not only use half the energy and one-sixth the water than washing dishes
Carbon Offsets: During Earth Hour, calculate how much energy you use and
then buy carbon offsets. Carbon offsets mean that you have given money to
something that either plants trees, or invests in green energy. That way,
the energy you do use is offset so you are at zero for your carbon
emissions. Don’t use this as a catch-all though.
the leaks: Go around your home during Earth Hour and look for any leaking
taps. Dripping taps waste 9,000 liters of water each year. Being energy
conserving means you also need to conserve water. This is what Earth Hour
is all about.
a tree: Possibly one of the easiest, and best things you can do for your
environment is planting a tree. The planting of a tree not only brightens
up an area and provides a habitat, it also removes carbon dioxide from the
air and replaces it with oxygen.
the fridge temperature: Set your fridge temperature to between two and
five degrees Celsius. Have your freezer set to between minus fifteen and
minus seventeen Celsius. Also, make sure the door of the fridge closes
tightly. If you can put a five dollar bill in the door and pull it out
when the fridge is closed, then energy is leaking out.
Doing all these things, or even some of them in celebration of Earth
Hour can save a lot of carbon dioxide and maybe even save the world if we all
jump on board and battle global warming, instead of waiting for governments to
do it for us.