Trying to reduce your carbon footprint and live a more sustainable life can often feel like an uphill battle with no end in site. For every bottle and can that’s recycled, there are ten more thrown in the landfill, and it can be quite frustrating to make the effort without seeing much change.
If you’ve ever wished you could make a statement about climate change that would make the world sit up and take notice, all you’ve got to do is turn off the lights.
On Saturday, March 27th at 8.30pm (local time) Earth Hour 2010 will begin, and homes and businesses around the world will extinguish their lights for one hour to create awareness about climate change and demonstrate the powerful affect of a single decision.
First celebrated in Australia back in 2007, Earth Hour is a global call to action for every community throughout the world to stand up, to take responsibility, to get involved and lead the way towards a sustainable future.
Critics of Earth Hour have pointed out that even with millions of people participating, the energy and emissions saved during these 60 minutes isn’t going to save the world. In fact, some have gone so far as to accuse the environmental movement of wanting to “throw humanity back into the dark ages,” and have proposed their own Human Achievement Hour, encouraging people to turn on every possible light and appliance on during this time.
Butting heads with deniers and naysayers is nothing new for the environmetal movement, so if you’re asking yourself “what’s the point?” here are three reasons to consider spending an hour in the dark.
1. Just because an act is symbolic doesn’t mean it’s pointless
Again and again people have said that the only way to truly knock out greenhouse gasses and slow climate change is to create an international regime that puts a cap and a price on climate pollution. This possibility, sadly, is in the hands of the world’s politicians and diplomats who have been reluctant to take a stand. However, as Time Magazine points out, politicians around the world will become convinced once they see that climate change is an issue that matters to people, one that will make them change the way they live, buy — and vote. So, if turning off the lights for an hour starts to show the world that we’re serious about fixing this problem, it is not in vain.
2. Tons of carbon dioxide emissions will be eliminated
No, even millions of people turning off their lights for just one hour won’t bring global warming to a screeching halt, but it will prevent hundreds of tons of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere. Hopefully, this significant act will make people think more seriously about the magnitude of the world’s energy usage, and they’ll find it easier to turn off the lights day after day, which WILL make a big difference.
3. Learn to appreciate (and conserve) what you have
Contrary to what some would say, the purpose of Earth Hour is not to convince people to give up electricity and stumble about in the dark and cold. Environmentalists don’t hate technology, we just think it should be used to help reduce our negative impact on the planet instead of charging full steam ahead until there’s nothing left. Turning off the lights, air conditioner, computer, and television for an hour is likely to make you much more appreciative of these luxuries than if you simply left them blaring for another night. Once again, this small sixty-minute observance is a chance to change your thinking about the energy that’s available to you, and make a conscious effort not to squander it.
Also, force the politicians to pay attention by taking action on issues relating to global warming and climate change at Care2′s The Petition Site.
Earth Hour Lanterns, Cape Town, South Africa
Image Credit: © WWF / Sean Kelland