A Conservation Good Turn doesn’t have to be limited to something you do in the outdoors. As we approach Earth Day, consider participating in Earth Hour, when every person on Earth is asked to turn off the lights in their homes for one hour.
Earth Hour started in 2007, when it was introduced by the World Wildlife Fund. It has since found supporters all over the world, including our friends at Leave No Trace.
“Earth Hour shows the power of citizen activism and our ability to create positive impacts with relatively small actions,” the Leave No Trace organization writes on its official blog. “Take part in Earth Hour – and then take steps to minimize your energy consumption the other 8,759 hours in a year to live more sustainably and reduce your carbon footprint.”
How to participate in Earth Hour
What I like about the concept of Earth Hour is that you really don’t have to do all that much.
You could encourage your Scout families to simply turn off their lights for one hour on Saturday, March 25. That’s it!
Leave No Trace suggests you participate from 8 to 9 p.m. local time. The official Earth Hour website says 8:30—9:30.
With people all over the world in different time zones, I’m not sure that it really matters all that much when you participate, as long as you participate at some point on that day.
Have a dinner party planned for that time? Fine! Do your part earlier in the day!
Are you out and about during that time? No problem! Do your part when you get home!
And though the official Earth Hour site suggests that you could spend that hour learning more about ways to conserve the environment, it’s also enough to just listen to a podcast, go for a walk or spend some time talking with your family.
Does it really make a difference?
Earth Hour is partly a symbolic gesture.
“Earth Hour has been known for the ‘lights off’ moment, with individuals from around the globe switching off their lights to show symbolic support for the planet,” says the official Earth Hour site.
However, the Leave No Trace blog says global energy demand decreases by around 4% on that one day. So, there is some real impact.
Among the other things you can do to minimize your energy consumption throughout the year:
- As your current light bulbs burn out, switch to LED bulbs. They use less electricity than traditional bulbs.
- Turn off the lights when you aren’t in the room, and especially when you leave the home.
- Wash your clothes in cold water. (This still feels weird to me, as my mom always taught me to wash clothes in warm or hot water, unless the colors could fade. But that was a long time ago! Modern detergents work just as well in cold water as they do in warm or hot water.)
- In the summer, turn the AC up a couple of degrees and turn on a fan. In the winter, turn it down a couple of degrees and put on a sweater.
Click her to learn more about the BSA’s own Leave No Trace program.