Earth Hour will be observed across the globe this coming Saturday, March 29th, between 20:30 and 21:30. Thousands of people are expected to switch of their lights and sit in darkness for one hour, to symbolise humanity’s awareness of the effects human beings have on the planet, and to show the commitment people have to doing all they can fight and slow down climate change.
Power outages and being without lights is not uncommon to Mzansi, a clear sign of the strain the earth is experiencing where man’s need for energy are concerned. As inconvenient and boring as being without lights may be, there are a few fun things to do.
So whether you’ll be observing Earth Hour or if you find yourself in an involuntary darkness, here are a few suggestions of things to keep you entertained:
- Have candle light dinner with your spouse or partner. (Nothing says romance like a candle lit dinner for two. Combine that with a home cooked food and great conversation, and you have the makings of a great date.)
- Play card games with friends. (If you’re not a fan of card games, you could play other games like scrabble, or 30 seconds.)
- Make Shadow Puppets with your kids. (You could play out a shadow puppet play, making the story up as you go along. This will be great fun for kids.)
- Star Gazing (This one may prove a bit hard if you’re in an urban area but could make for a nice evening outside.)
- Dancing (If you still have one of those battery operated radios, you can make it a fun evening… Quiz your kids or friends on fun facts about the radio or make up funny dances for laughs.)
- Eat together and Converse (Making a braai or cooking a potjie on a fire would be great start for this one.)
- Tell ghost stories (This will be fun for children and adults… Makes for great bonding time with loved ones.)
- Indoor Camping (This would be great fun with your kids or friends… while sitting together a conversation about conserving energy could spark up.)
- Read by candle light (If you live alone, nothing beats a good book and cup of tea.)
- Sit in silence (if there’s one thing there’s too little of, that’s moments of complete silence… When you can reflect and find the time to consider your goals and dreams.)
By: Lithakazi Mhaga
Saving the planet and attempting to reverse the tragic and sometimes disastrous effects of pollution and climate change has become a 21st century phenomenon that most, if not all, individuals and groups are steadily getting involved in.
One such group, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) dedicates itself to the betterment of our ailing planet. Acting as an activist for all environmental issues, the WWF initiated Earth Hour to raise awareness and to educate people about what they can do to help reduce or slow down the effects of climate change.
The WWF is involved in numerous initiatives which involve saving endangered animal and plant species, purifying the seas, land and the atmosphere for all living creatures, and reducing the impact mankind has on the environment. And one of their initiatives, Earth Hour, is gaining popularity the world over.
What is Earth Hour and what does it mean, you ask. Well, it started in Sydney, Australia in 2007 with over 2.2 million people taking part in switching off their lights for just one hour on the third Saturday of March between 20:30 and 21:30. This year it falls on March 29th.
WWF Earth Hour project manager, Sue Northam said, “Earth Hour is about so much more than just symbolically switching off your lights for an hour once a year. Since it started in Australia in 2007, it is now an opportunity to be part of a global movement of positive action for the planet. Over 154 countries take part.”
Today’s society is dependent on the use of energy for the productivity of industry and use in daily life. This high demand for fuels and electricity, and the pollutant by-products of the operations of creating and using energy is sucking the earth dry of all its resources. We all can feel the strain on the earth… Our power supplier is struggling to ensure there’s a steady flow of electricity across the country, we suffer strange and unusual weather from lengthy droughts to flooding rains.
Living ‘green’ is this generation’s tag line, and with great reason… Much like the many advertisements we see on television prompting us to adopt ways to save energy, like reusing non-recyclable things like plastic and glass bottles and switching off all appliances not in use can make a small but significant difference in slowing down climate change.
The world’s governments and politicians are dedicated to finding more environmentally friendly ways of interacting with the planet. Each year they meet for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP) conferences. In 2011, COP17 was held in Durban and this year it will be held in Lima, Peru from December 1st till the 12th.
It was during the 13th annual Cop conference in 2007 that the first Earth Hour occurred. Sue Northam said, “Earth Hour is a WWF initiated campaign – this was started by WWF Australia – but participation is wider. It includes members of the public.”
“Earth Hour has become a movement of positive change for the environment – examples from around the world show how the power of one hour has inspired actions beyond the hour,” Northam continued.
“In Uganda, an Earth Hour Forest is being created in an area of bad deforestation; in Argentina the support of Earth Hour was used to get a petition to declare a Marine Protected Area off their coast – these are just two examples of large scale positive actions initiated from the impetus of the Earth Hour movement. It is a powerful citizen-driven movement of change – hence we are asking the question: ‘How do you honour the Earth?’ It is up to all of us.”
“WWF South Africa is inviting all South Africans to make a promise to honour the Earth. We must think about the choices we make around our food, water and energy use – and understand our wider impact on the environment,” Northam concluded.