Saturday, March 15, 2008

Lights Out for Earth Hour

My seventh graders and I are currently trying to decide how we will celebrate Earth Day this year. Our goal is to do something to support the environment and, at the same time, encourage others to do likewise. Yesterday, I described for them an event that took place in Sydney, Australia last year. More than half of the city, businesses included, turned out the lights for one hour. For those who say something that simple couldn't have much of an effect on the environment, read the following comment from Chris Betcher's blog, Betchablog:

Earth Day started in Sydney last year with an idea that if we simply turned our lights off for one hour the overall effects could be substantial. Of course, it was a symbolic gesture more than anything else, but on 31 March 2007, 2.2 million people and 2100 Sydney businesses turned off their lights for one hour - Earth Hour. During this single hour, the collective effort of turning off the lights reduced Sydney’s energy consumption by 10.2%, which is the equivalent effect of taking 48,000 cars off the road. What started as a grassroots community idea quickly took hold among the corporate and government sectors, proving that a simple idea like turning the power off for an hour can gather enough momentum to make a noticable difference and raise awareness of the problems our planet faces.

This year, people around the world are being encouraged to join Sydney for Earth Hour on Saturday, March 29th. Already, 25 cities around the world have agreed to participate, including San Francisco, Chicago, Denver, and Miami. My students and I will be encouraging our school community to join millions of people around the world who will be reducing their "carbon footprint" for one hour, starting at 8:00 p.m. local time. Care to join us?

Why don't you start by watching this video about last year's Earth Hour in Sydney. And then click on the link below which will take you to the Earth Hour 2008 website where you can sign up and participate.


Tom said...

No event in Paris...Such a shame!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I participated in Sydney’s earth hour and was happy so many cities around the world participated in switching off lightsand unnecessary appliances - I couldn't find the results of Australia's Earth hour on the next working day. What I did find was an estimate by Paul Bird from the National Electricity Market Management Company who says it prompted a sizeable drop in demand for power. He said “There was at least 1,000 megawatts reduction across the national grid, which is a significant reduction across the states, south-eastern and eastern states of Australia”. (

And from came these results: “Key achievements of Earth Hour 2008 in Australia: More than 370 cities, towns and communities took part; All Australian capital cities participated in Earth Hour; 94 percent of the top 100 ASX companies supported Earth Hour; 100% of top property companies support which include: Lend Lease, Mirvac, Colliers, Investa, Multiplex, CBRE, AMP, Knight Sinclair and Westfield; Top 5 Australian banks support which include: St George, Westpac, Commonwealth, National Australia Bank and ANZ.”