Earth Hour will occur Saturday, March 27, between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. local time around the world.  Some may scoff and say it’s a fad:  but in my opinion, it’s more important and meaningful than Earth Day.  Here’s why.

 

Throughout 137 countries and countless towns and cities, the lights will go off for one hour Saturday night.  The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) started the idea in 2006, and it caught on quickly in Australia.  Last year about 1 billion people turned off the lights—and more are expected this year.

 

According to the WWF, Earth Hour “sends a clear message that Americans care about this issue and want to turn the lights out on dirty air, dangerous dependency on foreign oil and costly climate change impacts, and make the switch to cleaner air, a strong economic future and a more secure nation.”
 
Around the world, iconic buildings like the Empire State Building, the pyramids at Giza, Sydney's Opera House, and Rio's Christ the Redeemer Statue will dim their lights for sixy minutes.

 

Not many large organizations are participating:  Wells Fargo is a sponsor, and Sears Holdings Corporations will shut off the lights at its Sears and K-Mart locations—while they are still open.  The company expects to save 80,000 kilowatts of power (enough to fuel 8 American homes for a year), which of course saves money.  But according to Mike Brown, a project manager with whom I spoke yesterday, the point of Sears Holdings’ participation in Earth Hour is going beyond concrete savings—it’s about showing their customers and employees what an organization can do in minimizing humans’ impact on our environment.

 

I understand and appreciate the sentiment behind Earth Day, but I rarely participate in such events.  I find most Earth Day events full of companies giving away plastic trinkets, bottled water, and messages showing how they care for the environment or trees—often, of course, printed on paper.

Earth Hour works for meIt’s one thing to say what you’re doing on Earth Day—or in a firm’s corporate social responsibility report.  It’s another thing to actually DO something.  And I think shutting the lights off for an hour shows taking action while sending a message.

 

So what if you don’t believe in climate change, though you shouldn’t be a scientist to understand spouting fumes in the air cannot be a good thing.  Who cares if you don’t mind sending dollars overseas to import oil, which bankrupts us and threatens our national security.

 

But wouldn’t it be fantastic to see the stars above us, even if for an hour?  You’d be amazed at what you see, even as the sun is setting . . .

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he is a business writer and consultant. His work is has also appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He's pictured here in Qatar, one of the Middle East countries in which he takes a keen interest because of its transformation into a post-oil economy. Other areas of interest include sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). As of October 2013, he now lives and works in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.