Earth Hour 2009: March 28 8:30-9:30pm: What can you do?
But what can you do?
Well, at least for that one hour, turn off all non essential lights, and unplug all applicances; don't even leave things on standby. Sit in the dark or by candlelight, play a board game by candlelight, or play flashlight tag so that you don't completely go into sensory depravation for that one hour.
More than 1 billion people are expected to take part tomorrow in over 1,000 cities all across the world in a symbolic gesture to help combat climate change.
Earth Hour started two years ago in Australia and has grown in popularity ever since. Some cities even dim their famous landmarks, (see a bigger list below) such as the Coliseum in Rome and Times Square in New York. It is expected that the event will have grown by 2,000 percent this year.
Here in Canada, a number of events are planned for the hour and organizers are happy that so much is being done to help mark this occasion.
"Being at the centre of Earth Hour, with its humble beginnings has been inspiring," says Josh Laughren, director of communications, WWF Canada.
"It's become larger than WWF. We were surprised at how it took off. We didn't need lots of sophisticated marketing since it became a grassroots movement that spread quickly.
"It was voluntary participation with no incentives involved -- quite unheard of. Between eight to 10 million Canadians participated -- that's half the adult population of Canada. Canadians are a quiet bunch, so this says climate change is something we care about," Laughren says.
The point of Earth Hour is not to reduce electricity so much, but to raise awareness. It's a way for people to take part and make a difference, even if it's only a small part or a small difference.
Everyone can support Earth Hour in their own way, but most cities seem to have a plan of what they are going to do:
The CN Tower in Toronto will be going dark.
The National Arts Centre in Ottawa will dim their lights.
Restaurants and hotels will be serving dinner by candlelight during that time (which is also romantic!)
The National Hockey League stadiums across North America will be going dark and in Nashville the game that was scheduled play during that time has been moved up so that the arena can go dark during the hour.
Some universities are urging students to not only do it for an hour, but for as much as they can over the whole weekend. Offices are encouraged to unplug anything non-essential before they leave on Friday so that equipment won't be running over the weekend.
Thousands of landmarks around the world will be turned off, including the Coliseum in Rome, Times Square, the city centre of Athens such as the Acropolis and the Holy Temple of Poseidon in Sounio, Canary Wharf in London, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Even some hospitals and non-essential lights in airports will be dimmed or turned off completely.
The United Nations building in New York will also be unlit.
So how could you pass the time during Earth Hour 2009?
1) Talk to each other (I know, it sounds scary)
2) Go outside and look at the stars that you usually can't see
3) Draw shadow characters
4) Play a board game by candlelight
5) Play a naughty board game by candlelight
6) Spend some quality undivided attention time with your pets
7) Go to bed early....
8) Write that letter you have been putting off all this time
9) Catch up on your knitting or sewing
10) Go to bed early with someone else... ;)