Australia, 2007. Several million people turned off their lights for one hour to show support for prevention of climate change.  Only a few years later, a record 128 countries opted to be involved when they turned their lights off in March of 2010. Famous landmarks such as the Egyptian pyramids and the Eiffel Tower turned off their lights to show their support of preserving the environment—even Las Vegas looked more like a rest stop

Eiffel Tower Earth Hour

The Eiffel Tower during and before Earth Hour--only one of many landmarks

in the dark Nevada desert. This worldwide movement encourages inhabitants of planet earth to contemplate one thing each of them have in common: the planet.

This Saturday, on March 26th, at 8:30 p.m., you can participate in this year’s Earth Hour by turning your lights off for one hour. Do something that does not require electricity, and think about what you can do to better our experience here on this beautiful planet. Everything helps—from creating a recycling program in your own home to large companies deciding to vacate Brazilian forests for timber—we can make a difference.

So with all these lovely motivational suggestions, what will really happen the hour after Earth Hour? The overall attempt at environmental awareness has been criticized—how can one hour of darkness really inspire a year of change?

Social Media Optimization

Earth Hour official logo

This is where social media comes in.  A campaign titled, “Beyond the Hour” has been launched to remind participants and non-participants alike to remember our earth. YouTube has been the catalyst of the campaign, but Tweets are full of normal people trying to spread the word, and the “Earth Hour” Facebook page has more than 525,000 followers. Social media will facilitate activities that happen both pre- and post-Earth Hour.

So at 8:30 this Saturday night, turn your lights off. Realize the commodity and blessing electricity is, and perhaps even realize how inconvenient that hour is for you. Then, act on it! You will only be in darkness for 0.01% of the total hours available in a year, but use this as a jump-start in your own life to be more environmentally friendly.

Jamie Bates