Just One Hour. Lights Out.

That’s all you have to do on March 27, 2010 at 8:30 PM (your time, no matter where you live) to be part of the world’s largest call for action on climate change in history. Earth Hour. Turn out your lights for one hour. It doesn’t get much easier than that! Take a look at this short video:

Individuals and businesses throughout the US–and across the globe–have already signed on to support this year’s cause. Even U.S. monuments will “turn out” for the planet including:

  • Mount Rushmore
  • Empire State Building
  • Harrah’s Caesar Palace
  • MGM Mirage on the Las Vegas Strip
  • San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge
  • Montezuma Castle National Monument in AZ
  • Soldiers and Sailors Monuments in Indianapolis

Many ask, what’s the point? How could turning off our lights for one hour, on one evening, possibly make a dent in climate change? Earth Hour is symbolic. “… a way for people across the US to join together with people from throughout the world to signal their concern about climate change and send a message about the urgent need for action,” says World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Climate Director Keya Chatterjee.  The event will have special significance to Americans, from every walk of life, in the wake of a US government report from June 2009 which found that every region of the nation is experiencing significant, adverse impacts from climate change. A study released on November 2009 by WWF and the insurance company Allianze SE warned that by mid-century, rising global sea levels caused by climate change could increase risks to more than $7 trilion in buildings, transportation infrastructure, and other assets in major U.S. coastal cities–Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.

“Climate change is real and it’s happening right now in the US, impacting our water resources, energy supplies, transportation, agriculture and health… putting our livelihoods and economic future at risk in every part of the country,” said Chatterjee.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial’s Superintendent Gerard Baker said, “As stewards of our national parks, especially considering the challenges of climate change, we must be visible leaders to demonstrate commitment to energy and water conservation… and use our parks to teach the public about climate change and the ways citizens can reduce their carbon footprints.”

A number of organizations have also pledged their support for Earth Hour: National Association of Student Councils, National Honor Society, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, National Science Teachers Association… to name a few.

“Earth Hour is the perfect time to teach children about climate change and the steps they can take from a very early age to help reduce their footprint on the environment,” said Philip Schumacher, CEO of Goddard Systems, Inc., a national childcare franchise and national supporter of Earth Hour 2010. “As educators and parents, we need to raise a future generation that will care for the Earth and protect it for generations to come.”

“With a simple flick of the switch, Americans will not only be sending a signal that they want solutions to the climate crisis, but they’ll be helping to turn the lights out on our nation’s dangerous dependency on foreign oil, and an unsustainable economic future,” Chatterjee said. “That’s a powerful message that everyone around the world will be able to see bright and clear on March 27th.”

Earth Hour 2009 : My Family
Together with my husband and son, I watched the sun go down from the comfort of the living room and didn’t turn on any lights for the rest of the evening. In fact, we unplugged everything. Our evening consisted of lighting candles (say no to paraffin candles–they’re made from petroleum, pollute the air, and, well, kind of defeat the purpose), board games, talking… and then early to bed (an evening without lights is quite relaxing).

Maybe you’d rather host a big party, organize a community candlelight vigil (be sure to use eco-friendly candles!) or, if their are no kids around, enjoy a romantic candlelight dinner. Tell your neighbors and co-workers. Ask your employer or city to participate! Sign up at the official Earth Hour website MyEarthHour.org to let the world leaders how many millions of us “Vote Earth” and support the fight to combat climate change.

Get even more involved by joining (or starting your own) Earth Hour event on Facebook,  share this blog with your friends and family, tweet about it, write to your newspaper’s editor.

Tune into EcoChat March 22nd to learn even more about Earth Hour and how you can get involved.

What are your ideas?

The History of Earth Hour.
WWF started Earth Hour in 2007 by asking one city, Sydney Australia, to turn out the lights for one hour as a symbolic gesture to raise awareness about climate change and the effect it is having on our planet. What started with one city spread across the US in 2008 and became an even bigger global movement in ’09.

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