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Published on March 29th, 2008 | by Stephanie Evans


Honoring Earth Hour

Earth Hour, initiated by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Sydney, Australia in 2007, was designed as a statement to raise awareness about energy efficiency and the impact of human-generated carbon emissions.

Over the past year, Earth Hour has evolved into a global crusade, with strong support and equally as strong opposition.

Let’s take a peek at Earth Hour, the buzz surrounding this event, and it’s global impact…

Earth Hour, An Hour of Darkness

What is Earth Hour?

Earth Hour is a human-implemented “hour of darkness” occurring near the end of March.  For this hour, the global population is asked to shut off lights and refrain from using unnecessary energy-intensive appliances, such as radios, t.v.s, computers, and microwaves.

This year, Earth Hour occurs on Saturday, March 29th, from 8 p.m.-9 p.m. local time.

Who’s Participating, Who’s Not?

The Earth Hour movement has prompted both tenacious support from adherents and harsh criticism from global warming skeptics and some members of the scientific and journalistic communities.

  • Many criticize both the validity and the impact of numerical statistics from the first Earth Hour in 2007, citing exaggerated data and a negligible carbon-reducing effect.
  • Some actively protest the concept by taking that specific hour to turn on every appliance and light in their house.

The amount of controversy surrounding this one hour is staggering!  Despite swirling debates, more and more areas across the globe are taking note and have signed up as partner cities pledging to dim-down their skylines as part of the effort.

According to the WWF, over 100 cities in North America are pledged to participate.  U.S. flagship cities include Atlanta, Chicago, Phoenix, and San Francisco (this city is aligning it’s own Lights Out San Francisco event with Earth Hour).

Even the Web-based community is on board—Google sports a black screen on it’s main search page to honor the effort.  Google notes that modern displays (black screen or otherwise) use the same amount of power, but they’re dimming the lights to raise awareness about energy efficiency.

Global Impact

Whether or not numerical results confirm it or critics decry it, Earth Hour and similar movements represent a starting point for creating awareness about our interaction with the natural world and the communities around us.

While many are focused on squabbling over statistics and tangible indicators, the core goals of Earth Hour remain intact and unchallenged:

  • to generate education and awareness
  • to highlight the excessive waste of resources—and indirectly reveal our dependence on resource-hungry items
  • to show the world at large that it’s not too late to start making changes, one flick-of-the-light-switch and one hour at a time

Earth Hour is designed to encourage the thought that inspires change.  As this one 60-minute window is such a hot topic for universal debate, it seems that the movement is inspiring the intended effect!

How You Can Participate

To learn more, visit the Earth Hour Web site for:

  • general information
  • sections for signing up and telling a friend
  • neat ideas for dark hour activities
  • handy tips for integrating an Earth Hour into each day of your life

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