Published March 23, 2024

Turning off the lights is cool, but it’s time to get real …

Earth Hour 2024

It's that time of year again – time to dust off your board games, turn out the lights and get ready to make a global impact, one hour at a time. That's right, we're talking about Earth Hour! And it’s happening March 23 from 8:30 to 9:30 PM EST. 

But this annual event, organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), is more than just flipping a switch and dimming the lights. It's a symbolic gesture, a chance to unite with millions around the world, and a springboard for taking action on climate change and environmental issues.

From Down Under to Around the Globe

Earth Hour's story starts back in 2007, down in Sydney, Australia. They had a crazy idea … what if a whole city turned off its lights for an hour? 

That year, over 2.2 million people joined in, showing their government that people were concerned about climate change and wanted to see action. 

Turns out, Sydney wasn't the only one down with the plan. The following year, 50 million people in 35 countries took part in the event. 

Fast forward to today, and Earth Hour is a massive phenomenon. We're talking iconic landmarks going dark, from the Eiffel Tower to the Empire State Building. In 2022, 190 countries took part. Individuals, businesses, and governments all got on board, while communities held events that ranged from candlelit concerts to stargazing parties. 

But Is It Just About Turning Off the Lights?

While the symbolic lights-out moment is pretty darn cool (think cityscapes bathed in the soft glow of moonlight), Earth Hour is about more than just dimming the wattage. It's a chance to reflect on the impact we have on the planet and what we can do to lighten our footprint by working together.

Think of it as a giant pause button. 

For an hour, we step back from our usual routines and consider how our choices affect the environment. We get a chance to reconnect with nature, ditch the screens, and maybe even have a real conversation with the people around us.

Turning Earth Hour Into a Lasting Impact

Earth Hour isn't just about that one magical hour. It's a jumping off point for action. The WWF encourages people to use this time as a catalyst for making real changes in their lives. We're talking ditching single-use plastics, reducing your carbon footprint by taking public transport, or even starting a community garden. 

Every little bit counts!

Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Be an Energy Star

Swap out those dusty incandescent bulbs for energy-efficient LEDs. They may cost a bit more upfront, but they'll save you money on your electricity bill in the long run (and help the planet).

2. Ditch the Car (At Least Sometimes)

Public transportation, ridesharing and carpooling, are all fantastic ways to cut down on your carbon footprint. Bonus points if you can walk or bike to work or errands!

3. Become a Recycling Rockstar

 Reduce, reuse, recycle! It's a simple mantra with a powerful impact. 

Get creative with those old clothes, find a new purpose for that glass jar and brush up on your recycling knowledge to make sure you're tossing things in the right bin.

4. Embrace the Power of "No" 

Say no to single-use plastics like straws and bags. Invest in a reusable water bottle and shopping totes to show Mother Nature some love.

5. Become a Water Warrior

Take shorter showers, fix leaky faucets, and water your lawn wisely. Every drop counts!

6. Dine with a Conscience

Explore farmers markets and support local, sustainable farms. Opt for less meat-heavy meals, or try meatless Mondays.

7. Cultivate a Green Thumb

Plant a garden, even a small balcony herb garden! Growing your own food reduces your reliance on commercial agriculture and its environmental impact.

RELATED: Easiest vegetables to grow in your garden …

8. Become a Clothing Conscious Consumer

Fight fast fashion by buying quality, ethically-made clothing that will last. Consider swapping clothes with friends or shopping at second-hand stores.

9. Unplug the Energy Vampires

Phone chargers, game consoles on standby – they suck energy even when they're not in use. Get in the habit of unplugging them when you're done. 

It's like giving your electricity bill a superhero punch!

10. Embrace The Power of Knowledge

Educate yourself about environmental issues and sustainable practices. Share what you learn with others – knowledge is power!

Earth Hour: More Than Just a Hashtag

Sure, Earth Hour is a great excuse to post some cool pics on social media with #EarthHour. But let's be honest, social media likes can only get us so far. The true power of Earth Hour lies in its ability to inspire real change.

It's about making those small shifts in our daily lives that, when multiplied by millions, can make a significant difference. It's about reminding ourselves that we're all in this together, and that even the smallest actions can have a ripple effect.

So, this year, when Earth Hour rolls around (it's on Saturday, March 23rd, 2024, by the way, from 8:30 to 9:30 pm), get involved! Flip the switch, dim the lights, and use that hour to ponder how you can make a positive impact on our planet.

Remember, Earth Hour is just the beginning. 

Let's use that one hour to spark a lifelong commitment to protecting our amazing planet, the only home we've got.

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