Making the Most of Earth Hour 2009

Earth HourEarth Hour is Saturday, March 28th. Are you participating? Are you planning? If you’ve already signed up for Earth Hour, you’ve got two things left to do. Prepare to power down and plan what you’ll be doing from 8:30 to 9:30 PM.

Powering Down

Earth Hour is about turning off the lights for one hour. It may seem like just a little thing, but when everyone does it at once, the results are impressive. Look at a few statistics from 2008’s Earth Hour.

  • Chicago kept 840,000 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
  • In Toronto, there was an 8.7% reduction in energy.
  • A 10.1% energy drop occurred in energy usage.

Those numbers can be even more impressive if we do more than just turn off the lights. Powering down everything non-essential in your home can reduce your energy usage even further.

  • Unplug any chargers – cell phone, mp3 player, PDA’s – if they aren’t in use. They continue to draw energy even when they aren’t charging anything.
  • Unplug anything with a digital clock – alarm clocks, microwaves, automatic coffee makers. You can reset the clocks. It won’t kill you.
  • Turn off and unplug your stereo system and computer equipment. When they are in stand-by mode, they continue to draw power.
  • Unplug any exercise equipment – that’s one area that many people never think of.

Something to Do

You don’t just have to sit in the dark for an hour. Do something fun. Something you’ll tell others about. Here are a few ideas from around the web.

  1. Take a challenge from the Morsels & Musings blog – Anna, who lives in Sydney, is challenging people to cook a meal that has a low carbon footprint – made from locally sourced ingredients and minimal packaging. Blog your recipe any time before Earth Hour begins, then make the meal before the lights go out. At 8:30 begin to eat by candle light.
  2. Take pictures. Lots of people on flickr are discussing Earth Hour and taking pictures during it. If you live in a city that is planning going dark, figure out where you can get fairly high enough to take good pictures of the streets. If you can, go the night before or the night after and take pictures from the same perspective so you can compare the difference. Even if you’re just spending the night in with friends and family at home, take pictures. Put your pictures online and inform all your friends.
  3. Participate in 2009 StarWatch. Go outside during Earth Hour and count how many stars you can see. When Earth Hour is over, and the lights have gone back on, go back outside and count the stars again. Then go to RedShift Now’s website and record your data. The website reports that during Earth Hour 2008, 20% of those who reported said they saw darker skies (meaning more stars) when the lights were out.
  4. Pick one of these 60 things to do during Earth Hour. Some are silly (Say to your neighbour, “Dude, this is so Amish”) and some are good ideas (Start early. Switch off before the sun sets and soak up the twilight).

What will you be doing during Earth Hour?

Written by robinshreeves

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