Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The Meaning behind "Earth Hour"

During the last Saturday of March each year between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. people and businesses around the world pledge their support to reducing environmental impact by turning off their lights. This year, that date was March 26, and approximately 134 countries did their part by pulling the "off" switch, which plunged some of the world's most iconic structures into temporary darkness. The Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia disappeared from the night sky. The Eiffel Tower in France completely winked out. The Burj Kalifa in Dubai, the tallest tower in the world, seemed to suddenly vanish into thin air. All of this reminded people that the impetus for environmental change is everywhere, but that only through collaboration can the planet be saved.

Earth Hour began four years ago in Sydney, Australia, where 2.2 million people and more than 2,000 businesses shut off their lights for an hour to demonstrate their commitment to environmental change. Since then, the message of Earth Hour has gone global. Unlike many other demonstrations for change, Earth Hour is also a celebration. Many participants in Earth Hour throw parties, showing that doing something to help the planet does not have to be all work and no play. As only non-essential lights are turned off, such as building lights and room lights, public safety is not a concern as long as participants stay aware of their surroundings.

This year's Earth Hour was a success with some of the world's largest cities taking part, including New York, Hong Kong, Toronto, and Moscow. Yet, it was the 2010 Earth Hour that remains the event's most successful year. In 2010, approximately 4,616 cities, towns, and municipalities took part in Earth Hour, and about 1,551 iconic landmarks went dark as well.

Yet, despite all of Earth Hour's accomplishments, there have been critics. These critics typically claim that the hour-long absence of lights does not make a difference in terms of energy consumption and its effects on the environment, and this claim is undeniably true. In the grand scheme of things, turning off lights for one hour every year does not make much of an impact. However, this annual event is not about turning off lights to save power. Instead, it is a symbol of environmental change rather than an act of environmental change. It allows communities and businesses to come together for an easy and visually stunning representation of what it means to use less in order to give more back to nature.

This is a guest post by Mariana Ashley, a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031

Keywords: Earth Hour

1 comment:

Allie said...

This was a great post! I have partaken in Earth Hour the past few years, and I completely agree with what this post states. Although turning off lights in numerous cities for an hour does slightly help out environment (hey- it certainly can't hurt!), the message behind it is the most important factor. Perhaps there are people who are critical of Earth Hour, but the symbolism behind it is all important: if we pull together to make small changes (even as small as turning off lights when we leave the room), it truly can add up to make a big impact in our world!