8:30 pm (PST) on March 26th, 2011 marked the 5th annual Earth Hour, a global event organized by the World Wildlife Foundation in which millions of people around the world turned out their lights for one hour.
One hour might not seem like enough time to make a real impact, but when you imagine hundreds of millions of people, from over 120 countries around the world all turning off lamps and TVs and computers, the energy saved is monumental.
Earth Hour started in Sydney, Australia in 2007 when about 2 million people and 2,000 businesses turned off their lights as a stand against climate change. This cause quickly caught on, and by the next year over 55 million people participated in over 35 countries. By 2009, the numbers grew as more and more people pledged one hour of darkness in hopes of promoting awareness about energy conservation. By 2010, governments and citizens of over 128 countries around the world were darkening their homes, offices, public streets, and national monuments to promote a more sustainable future for our planet.
At the Northwest Portland Hostel, we turned out the lights for Earth Hour, lit some candles, and took some time to reflect on what it means to take care of our planet.
Photos: 1. ADCO Building, Abu Dhabi, UAE (lights off) 2. ADCO Building, Abu Dhabi, UAE (lights on). 3. Eiffel Tower, Paris, France.
(photos courtesy of www.earthhour.org)
Photos 4-6: HI-Portland, Northwest participating in Earth Hour
Earth Hour might only happen once a year for sixty minutes, but the impact goes way beyond that hour. Even as people turn back on the lights, they are more conscious of the energy being used, and the impact it has on the earth. That awareness grows and spreads to promote more environmentally-conscious actions, such as participating in recycling programs, local food initiatives, and using less water.
For more information, visit the Earth Hour website.