How You Can Help the Planet with Earth Hour

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You can show your commitment to the planet, and help promote efforts to reduce climate change by switching off your lights for one hour on Saturday, March 28, 2009. Or, if you prefer, you can vote for global warming by leaving them on.

This is an actual global election, and the results will be monitored and presented at the 2009 Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

When should I flip the switch?

There’s a global coordination, Earth Hour to do so between 8:30 and 9:30 pm tonight, in your local timezone. Why at this time? Because these hours in the evening are typically when energy use is high.

How can I show additional support for Earth?

Join us at Earth’s Friends by signing up for our RSS feed by entering your email in the box above left (or subscribing directly), you can partake in the various discussions taking place in our community. And you can add an environmental theme to your PC’s desktop wallpaper to show your support. Imagine if your entire workplace had desktops displaying their support for the planet. That’s free advertising for Earth.

Make your PC green

You can instantly reduce your power consumption by turning your computer off at night, and adjusting its power management settings so it goes into standby mode when you’re not using it. By doing this, you’ll not only be almost half a ton of carbon dioxide per year, you’ll also reduce your electricity bill by as much as $60 USD.

The next big industry is green

Let’s face it – helping the planet is not just for tree huggers. The next advanced societies will emerge from the nations that invest in green power today. When oil runs out, and it will, countries investing early in green energies such as wind and solar power, using electric cars, etc., will come out in front. Those sporting an educated populace that live a planet friendly lifestyle by recycling and reducing their carbon footprint, will be first movers in the next big industry.

War is not green

Finally, by supporting the planet you can help prevent needless wars and conflict over oil and diamonds and whatever other objects people are taking lives for. Green energy can be applied and practiced directly by you – it does not have to be locked in a market system controlled by a few super powers.

Alex loves nature and does his best to take care of the planet. He doesn't take for granted the serenity that can be found in the stillness of an ancient forest, or the majestic power of the ocean's large waves as they crash on an isolated island shoreline. He wants to raise awareness for how simple it can be to make a couple changes in your everyday life that can make a huge difference for the environment in the long term.

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Anonymous
I am not a green type person but I am excited about the milk and vegetables and then maybe the meat. I have long thought pesticides in the food caused cancer (one of the causes) and the hormones also. The other green products at this point are too expensive.

Anonymous
I remember the earth hour initiative taking place a few years ago. I was in Las Vegas of all places and when it came time for all the lights to go out, my friends and family and I all went out to the famed Las Vegas Strip to see what it would look like completely shrouded in darkness. If you have never been there before, the Las Vegas Strip is, and Las Vegas itself for that matter, is known for never, ever being dark. There must be over a million light bulbs on that stretch of road and to see them all turn off simultaneously was quite a thing to behold.

Obviously, it left an impression on me. I liked the message that Earth Hour sent to all the people who took part in it and anyone who observed it as well. The message, to me, was that if we really make the decision to, we as a community can truly make a difference in how we consume our power and also our natural, un-renewable resources. For one solid hour, sixty minutes, people in the most electricity consuming places were able to do without their modern conveniences and it really was not all that hard.

Here is the problem I have with Earth Hour and other environmental issues put forth over the past several years, it was only one hour of everyone’s day or year an no commitment was required beyond that. People will do a lot of things philanthropically because it is socially top-of-the-mind and “cool”, but they do not really consider the true gravity of the cause and often do not understand why they are doing what they are doing, but just do it to fit in with the group.

Being “green”, no matter what that Kermit guy says, has become pretty fashionable as of late and I think people will do things that are perceived to be environmentally friendly just to get the recognition of doing “their part” and therefore are able to look down their noses at other people. Actually getting people to make an emotional investment and a commitment to changing their lifestyle and encouraging others to do so in positive ways so that their impact on the Earth is much lesser is a far greater challenge, but it is the key to making real strides moving forward.

Anonymous
As opposed to asking for just one hour a year to get everyone to turn off their lights and so forth, getting someone to commit to one hour a week of non-electrical time, Amish time if you will, every week for a year would be much more impactful. Obviously, the time spent “off the grid” would be greater but it would also serve other purposes that would plant seeds for future improvement. Ideally, a community of individuals would participate and socialize so that they are accountable to one another and real goals could be met. An emphasis on activities to take part in during that one hour a week would force people toward more productive avenues to spend their time. Ideas could be shared and all of a sudden you have some real momentum for a group moving forward. This is clearly a great deal more work and would require some strong leadership to get volunteers involved, but it is also much more worthwhile than a simple one-hit wonder.

Now I have to acknowledge that even the smallest contributions of effort are commendable and anything is better than nothing. The greatest challenge of organizing any volunteer effort is always going to be motivating people to get involved and stay active. When it comes to

environmental issues, there will always be your hard-core, dedicated people who will jump aboard if it works with their agenda, but the key to making something really work is reaching out to the fringe individuals who may have your issue on their mind but just have not had the right impetus to move them to action yet. If you can tap into those people, you can really do great things. The trick of that is your organization or your event must appeal to them in some way and be non-committal enough to not scare them off. This is where the “cool” factor comes in.

So clearly there is a fine line to walk in order to still do something worthwhile, but also make room for the fringe players to access your event as well. Earth Hour is a good start to this, but there should be some further developed plan to keep people going on the momentum that is generated by doing such a thing. Something that will get people involved, and keep them involved in an ongoing fight to really make a difference in being more respectful to our planet.