The Hour of (no) Power

One of the new year’s resolutions that Linda and I made for 2008 is to try and be a little kinder to the planet; whether that be to walk and cycle more instead of driving, to buy products that are more environmentally friendly, or to make an effort to generate less waste… even small changes may help the planet. If we can encourage a few others to do the same, it may help even more.

There are plenty of great stories about the Power of One… the effect that one person can have if the ripples from their actions spread far enough to influence others. One of the great Power of One stories is that of Earth Hour.

Earth Day started in Sydney last year with an idea that if we simply turned our lights off for one hour the overall effects could be substantial. Of course, it was a symbolic gesture more than anything else, but on 31 March 2007, 2.2 million people and 2100 Sydney businesses turned off their lights for one hour – Earth Hour. During this single hour, the collective effort of turning off the lights reduced Sydney’s energy consumption by 10.2%, which is the equivalent effect of taking 48,000 cars off the road. What started as a grassroots community idea quickly took hold among the corporate and government sectors, proving that a simple idea like turning the power off for an hour can gather enough momentum to make a noticable difference and raise awareness of the problems our planet faces.

In 2008, Sydney wants to spread the Earth Hour concept to the rest of the world, turning a symbolic event into a global movement. In 2008, other cities around the world will join Sydney – Copenhagen, Toronto, Christchurch, Tel Aviv, Chicago, and many others – and at 8pm on March 29 will turn off the lights for an hour.

Although I live here in Sydney, I don’t watch a lot of news so I never heard about Earth Hour last year until it was over. However, if it was being talked about in the blogosphere I probably would have known about it… so this year I want to put it out there, and ask you to pass it on. If you think it sounds like a good idea, tell others about it. Blog about it. Get your own city to do it. Do it yourself. But especially, tell your students about it.

This is a wonderful, simple idea to share with your students. It can make them feel part of a global movement, but more importantly it demonstrates that individuals CAN come up with simple, sharable ideas that make a difference.

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CC BY-SA 4.0 The Hour of (no) Power by Chris Betcher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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