How to survive Earth hour
Earth Hour, an international event, is designed as a platform where individuals and businesses alike can demonstrate what steps they are making towards sustainability and taking care of the environment.
Organised by the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF), this event aims to see households and cities turn off any non-essential lights for an hour to raise awareness about the need to tackle climate change.
It started in Sydney in 2007 with over 2.2 million Sydneysiders and 2,100 businesses switching off and since then it has grown. In 2013, over 152 countries jumped on board this Australian initiative, now the largest voluntary event in the entire world.
The movement now takes place annually at a date towards the end of March, from 8:30 p.m - 9:30 p.m.
This year it is set to take place on March 23 so make sure you are prepared to last the distance with your lights off.
Here are some tips to help you survive the hour, and some ideas you could take from the event to lower your environmental impact and electricity prices going forward.
Use beeswax candles
The campaign aims to see all essential lights switched off and organisers have stated on their website that this is not meant to be at the risk of public safety.
So keep your security lights on, but try to flick the switch on downlights in your house. You can replace the glow of these lights with the illumination from soy or beeswax candles.
These types are recommended as they do not produce smoke or toxins and are non-allergenic as well as being environmentally friendly.
Any carbon dioxide produced by these light sources has already been taken from the atmosphere in order to make the wax so these are a safe light source in environmental terms.
Naturally, you will still need to take some care with candles. Never leave them unattended and be careful to keep them away from children and pets. Double check they are blown out before you go to bed, too.
Also, ensure they are kept away from any flammable items, such as paper, curtains and clothes.
Hold an Earth Hour event
Invite your friends and family around to celebrate Earth Hour. Ensure you have cooked beforehand so you do not need to make a meal in semi-darkness if you plan on eating late.
You can be inventive and come up with a range of fun activities you can take part in that do not need lighting.
Games for kids (big ones included) to play in the dark
Consider the old childhood favourite, spotlight. Everyone must hide except the person who is "it". They are armed with a torch and must try to find everyone using this light. The last person to remain hidden is the winner of the game.
Use this event as an excuse to relive your childhood. There are plenty of ways you can get back to your roots while not hiking up the amount you pay to your electricity suppliers.
Candles can be used as illumination when you play an old family favourite board game, whether it be Monopoly, Cluedo, Cranium or something else.
Another simple way to keep occupied is to hold story time. A torch is an important aid here if you plan to tell a scary one!
What tips to take from the experience
Since the promoters of Earth Hour aim to spread the word about what consumers can do to become more sustainable in their day-to-day lives, you might be able to pick up a few eco-friendly tricks to reduce your electricity prices at the same time.
For example, you may discover you have lights that you do not really need to use. If you find you don't miss that bright overhead light, consider switching to a more energy efficient bulb that does not emit such a strong glow.
What sustainable measures has Earth Hour been responsible for?
The organisers of this event have also set up another project entitled 'I Will If You Will', which has helped many individuals, businesses, organisations and governments to commit to actions they will take to help the planet beyond the 60 minutes of Earth Hour.
According to the UK Earth Hour team, over 82.7 per cent of people who took part in this event in 2013 said they were inspired to take action to protect the planet.
When you do an electricity comparison, you could look to see where energy suppliers get their power from. Australia has many sustainable ways to produce power, from the sun and wind to hydropower, so there are more options out there than ever before.
Another change you could consider is to install a solar energy system, as this device could help your household harness the power of the sun and aid you make savings. Plus, this means you won't have to purchase as much power from the grid as before.
Posted by Liam Tunney.