If you haven’t heard, tomorrow is the 3rd annual international event created by the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature/World Wildlife Fund) deemed Earth Hour. Earth Hour is held the last Saturday of March in which the world is challenged to turn off the lights (and any electrical device) for one hour to raise awareness for climate change. This year, 8:30 p.m. is the time when the action starts, or I guess you could say, no action.

I honestly haven’t heard much about it until this year, but it seems to be getting a lot of media attention and sponsorship. I would imagine this movement will continue to grow as Earth Hour continues to gain exposure. But what is the deal with the time exactly? I’m not trying to knock it or anything, but I think 8:30 p.m. seems to be an odd time. It would seem that a majority people would be out and about on a Saturday night. I suppose the time was driven by when most of the world is in the evening hours (Civil Twilight is at 7:46 p.m. on Saturday).

It will interesting to see how the Earth Hour was observed throughout the world. Hundreds of cities have already committed to the initiative. Some of the world’s modern marvels are shutting off the lights including the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Acropolis, Empire State Building and the Petronas Towers, to name a few.

This movement is definitely more about awareness than a conservation effort. It really intrigued me when I was listening to the radio on the drive home yesterday. An energy engineer for a local energy company had called in saying how he was concerned about the effects of Earth Hour. He had said that if a large majority of the households on the grid were to turn off all electricity for an hour, the computer mechanism that drives the grid would decrease. Being that this is a temporary ‘lights out’ campaign, once the households turned their power back on at 9:30 p.m., it would bring the grid to it’s knees causing a brownout.

It was an interesting conversation and wish I could post it verbatim. The radio host said that maybe this would be a good thing. Would you agree? Would you deem the Earth Hour movement a success if it caused a brown out? The worker said he would be concerned about hospitals and other critical infrastructure that relies heavily on energy. He ultimately conceded that this was an extreme case and not likely to happen. It was interesting nonetheless.

So what are you Earth Hour plans? To be honest, I don’t think we will make a conscious effort to observe Earth Hour this year. I mean, if we leave the house, and thus turning off everything, are we really doing anything to help the Earth Hour initiative? Sure, the lights are out, but we are driving a car! Not only that, but whatever we partake in outside of our humble abode will most likely not be observing Earth Hour either.

Here are 10 different ways to spend Earth Hour and reduce your carbon footprint:

1. Attend a local Earth Hour event or organize your own by throwing an Earth Hour street party with your neighbours
2. Gather family & friends for a night picnic in your local park and look at the stars
3. Enjoy a family dinner by candlelight
4. Organize a treasure hunt in the dark
5. Take the dog for a night walk
6. Have a candle-lit bath
7. Sit in the dark and share stories
8. Organize a family night playing board games
9. Share a romantic night in with your loved one
10. Upload your ‘on the night’ photos and videos to flickr and YouTube respectively, and then add them to the Earth Hour flickr group and the global YouTube Group.

More information can be found at EarthHour.org.

What are your Earth Hour plans?

Stupidly Yours,

Matt