For those of you who don’t know, the World Wildlife Fund started Earth Hour in 2007 in Australia, asking people to turn off their lights for one hour to raise awareness about the need to take action on climate change. It has since become a global phenomenon, with more and more people turning out their lights each year.
In 2009, nearly 1 billion people in 4,100 cities in 87 countries on seven continents turned out their lights for Earth Hour, which starts at 8:30 p.m. local time. The only question many people have is what am I supposed to do in the dark for a whole hour? Well, I’ve got some great ideas. And you know what? These activities are so fun, you won’t even remember to turn on the lights come 9:30.
Eat a candlelit dinner. Prepare the whole meal in advance and make sure the table’s set, so you don’t stab anyone with the dinner knives while trying to set the table in the dark. Then, once you switch off the lights, settle down at the table and enjoy a candlelit dinner. Whether it’s with your honey, your family, or just a friend or two, you’ll be sure to enjoy.
If you’ve got kids, play games with them or tell them stories. Too often, Saturday night is just movie night, so it's time for a change. This Saturday night, get the kids together for some ghost stories by candlelight or a game of Monopoly. If you’re really ambitious, you can try building a fort with them in your living room.
Look at old picture albums. In this day and age, everything’s electronic — on a hard drive, a memory card, a USB stick, in an online album somewhere on the Internet. You get my point. For Earth Hour, why not pull out the dusty albums from years' past (everybody’s got one somewhere) and leaf through some old pictures of yourself or your family by candlelight. You can even make it into a game (“Who can find the only picture ever taken of grandma in a two-piece?”). It’s sure to make for some good times, good memories and some great stories.
Get some friends together for a game night. What says I care about the Earth more than Taboo by candlelight? And the best part of it is, it’ll be dark enough that nobody will see you cheating.
Go outside for some stargazing. When was the last time you looked up at the sky and actually saw more than a few stars? That’s because with all the light pollution out there these days, it’s hard to see much of anything in the sky besides the moon — or the lights of a passing plane if you’re lucky. Take advantage of the Earth Hour opportunity, and head outside for some good old-fashioned stargazing. Unless of course, you’re fortunate enough to live in Salt Lick, Ky. — then you might see stars any ol’ night of the year.
Don’t forget to check out this video promo for Earth Hour 2010, featuring landmarks across the world that went dark for 2009’s Earth Hour, including the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Empire State Building in New York City — definitely inspiring to watch. And remember, no matter how you decide to spend Earth Hour, know that you’re one of billions of people joining together to take a stand on the future of our planet, and that, my friends, is more than enough.
Also on MNN: Want to learn more about Earth Hour? Check out the MNN archive on this topic