Earth Hour is a global event that takes place near the end of March each year. In this hour of darkness, 152 countries in 7000 cities, hundreds of millions of people turn out all non-essential lights to show how a small act can make a difference.
But that is not all Earth Hour is about. It’s not just about turning off your lights for an hour and seeing how much the power usage drops. The organizers of Earth Hour say that the measure of success and actual goal of Earth Hour is to go beyond the hour. Doing activities that help reduce the human impact on the planet everyday; demonstrating how small acts done on a regular basis contribute to a sustainable planet.
In 2011, the logo ’60’ which represented the 60 minutes of darkness; was changed to ’60 +’ to promote going beyond the hour. Projects were initiated all over the world, to help protect and sustain our planet. Projects such as planting 5000 trees in Uganda and protecting 3.4 million hectares of sea in Argentina and there are many more.
But it’s not just about the big global projects, though important, it’s also about doing what we can close to home, in our own backyards. We can make simple and easy changes to reduce our usage and impact on the planet.
10 Activities that Help Reduce Human Impact on the Planet
Here are 10 ways to help reduce your impact on a regular basis and are things you can easily involve children (the ambassadors of our planet) in doing:
- Use LED lightbulbs – studies have shown that this alone significantly reduces our power usuage. The cost to buy the bulb long outweighs the savings
- Install a programmable thermostat – these are more accurate and easy to use helps reduce your heating bill
- Recycle – this may seem obvious but there are still many people who don’t recycle. If you already do, go the extra mile such as recycling your coffee cup when you go out for coffee or get a refillable one
- Carpool – even sharing a ride with one other person saves one car. If you choose transit or foot, saves even more!
- Use reuseable cloth bags – get the kids to decorate the bags
- Have a candlelight dinner hour – the kids will love turning the lights and having dinner by candlelight. Or set the mood for later with your partner post bedtime 🙂
- Have a picnic supper – serve a variety of cold dishes, such as yummy salads, fancy sandwiches and a no bake dessert
- Grow your own garden – even a small garden plot can be fun and rewarding. If you don’t have the yard space, get an old wooden pallet and put garden fabric on the back and fill it with dirt. Voila instant garden!
- Compost -many communities in Canada have a green cart program, but it’s easy to compost in your own backyard.
- Create your own Earth Hour project either with your family or within your community
Remember that each action, no matter how small, can contribute and reduce the overall impact on the planet. Start by picking one or two things that you would like to do and go from there. If we each do a little bit, it quickly becomes a lot.