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Earth Hour 2012 Done: So What Now?

Earth Hour

Last Saturday night, many millions of people around the world turned off their lights in celebration of Earth Hour, a yearly event used to demonstrate concerns about climate change and how it is affecting our lives.

This year, however, Earth Hour has encouraged participants to go “beyond the hour” with its “I Will If You Will” campaign. It’s a pretty simple concept to grasp: we all have the ability to change the world we live in, so why not encourage and challenge one another to take action?

Going one hour without lights makes little difference in terms worldwide energy use, even if millions of people do it at once. Earth Hour is not about that, is more of a symbolic action of unity.

How many of us actually do think beyond the hour, working on ways to conserve resources and change our environment damaging ways on a daily basis? It’s these continued efforts that will bring forth a sustainability revolution, and at this point – with irreversible climate change not that far off according to scientists – the Earth needs all the help it can get.

We could attempt to reduce our coal-fired power consumption on a daily basis. How about making one day a week meatless, too? While we’re on a roll, we could buy a reusable water bottle or takeout coffee cup. And since we’re already at the store,  we could pick up some reusable shopping bags, instead of always using plastic. We coud think about not driving our cars so much, or switching to a hybrid or electric mdoel if that’s possible. There are many other things that can be done to start to make a difference.

Doing Earth Hour isn’t just to see what it would be like to be among the many people around the world still living without electricity. It’s an invitation to think about how we impact the planet on a daily basis and what we can do differently to improve it.

The WWF’s Earth Hour page also has a link to a tracker to detect your city’s risk of extreme weather as climate change worsens, urging residents to inform their mayors and come up with ways to protect the population. If you are in the U.S., check your state here and find out what’s on the horizon.

Did you participate in Earth Hour this year? How will you go about making small changes to better the Earth this year? We’d love to hear your ideas, no matter how ordinary or unconventional.

Image CC licensed by Christian Haugen: Earth Hour

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