This Saturday, a group of young people will turn off their electronic gizmos and head to a meadow in Swansea. They will join other young people around a blazing camp fire to play the drums, sing and, no doubt, toast a few marshmallows. They will be just a few of the 10 million Britons acting a little strangely this weekend, in somewhat similar ways.
What’s going on? For anyone who has missed it, this Saturday March 29th 2014 8.30-9.30pm local time, is Earth Hour. During this hour hundreds of millions of individuals, businesses, schools, organisations and landmarks across the globe will all switch off their lights in order to participate.
Earth Hour has grown in a few years from a local event in Sydney in 2007 to a worldwide movement across 152 countries. Part-celebration, part campaign for sustainability issues, even Hong Kong – a notoriously energy-guzzling city – will dramatically switch off all non-essential lighting. The event will have live commentary from space as landmarks from the Eiffel Tower to the Sydney Opera House do the same.
Although Earth Hour has received some criticism, it is largely a symbolic event. The spirit of Earth Hour is about much more than switching off lights for just one hour. It’s also about making small changes to the way we live, so that societies around the world can begin to operate sustainably. There have been many tangible outcomes as a direct result of Earth Hour. In 2013, the world’s first Earth Hour Forest began in Uganda, as a first step to fight the 6000 hectares of deforestation that occur in the country every month. There is also much we can do individually, if we are moved to do so.
MDO thinks Earth Hour is an incredibly inspiring effort to raise awareness of the issues it cares about. It is the largest ever voluntary action for the environment. In the words of Co-Founder Andy Ridley “People from all walks of life, from all nations around the world, are the lifeblood of the Earth Hour interconnected global community. They have proven time and time again that if you believe in something strongly enough, you can achieve amazing things.” Whether or not we share it’s philosophies, we can’t argue with that.
Find out more about Earth Hour here: http://www.earthhour.org/
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