Earth Hour 2012 will occur on March 31, but to understand what Earth Hour really is one must understand the history. The World Wildlife Federation of Australia started Earth Hour in 2004. The purpose of this celebration was to make Australians aware of climate change. While many ideas were bounced around, the WWF of Australia decided to contact an advertising agency for help. The Leo Burnett Sydney agency was contacted and a plan was designed to get Australians engaged in issue of climate change.
Then, in 2005, a campaign of hope not fear was developed. This campaign pushed the fact that everyone had a personal responsibility when it came to global warming. In doing so, the WWF of Australia and the Leo Burnett Sydney agency came up with “The Big Flick.”
In 2006, the advertising agency is challenged to come up with a campaign that goes beyond flicking off lights. This is where the concept of “Earth Hour” was conceived. It allowed people to broaden their focus and activities to include “lights out” for global warming all the way to food security and sustainability.
The concept for Earth Hour was taken to Fairfax Media for backing. They agreed along with Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP.
At the same time, others were voicing their concern over global warming. This included Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth along with a report. This report, The Stem Report, was written not from a science perspective but instead an economic one. It described dire consequences that would fall upon the world’s global economy due to global warming.
The first Earth Hour was celebrated on March 31, 2007 in Sydney Australia. This event was celebrated by 2.2 million Sydney supporters and 2,100 businesses, which turned off their lights from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
At the same time, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a report documenting higher temperatures across the planet.
In April 2007, more interest develops and more cities sign up for the next Earth Hour campaign.
March 29, 2008 saw 371 cities and towns across 35 countries turn off their lights in that year’s Earth Hours campaign. A conservative estimate of the number of people who participated was calculate to be 50 million but many estimates say it was more like 100 million.
A visual mandate on global warming was shown on March 28, 2009. Hundreds of millions of people across 35 countries showed their support for Earth Hour by turning off their lights from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Social media came into play on July 2009 with the Earth Hour’s Vote Earth campaign. In this campaign, the Vote Earth symbol was released and people were encouraged to vote for Earth over Global Warming.
In November 2009, Earth Hour Vote Earth released the Peoples Orb. This orb contained a 350-gigabyte hard drive that contained video clips, images and documents sent by the people who voted on Earth Hour.
In December 2009, several things happened. A U.N. meeting of 192 countries meets in Copenhagen, Denmark to discuss global warming. The UN Chef de Cabinet Vijay Nambier is entrusted with the Peoples Orb. This Orb is shown to over 100 heads of state.
Earth Hour of 2010 saw more involvement from 128 countries. Ionic building from across the global, for the first time, was darkened for one hour in support of Earth Hour.
Earth Hour 2011 was the first time that participants were asked what else they could do. A new site called Beyondthehour.com was launched so that supporters could pledge to do more and record their stories.
Earth Hour 2012 will be celebrated on March 31 from 8:30 to 9:30. To aid in your own Earth Hour celebration, explore Outdora’s earth-friendly products.
If you are concerned with your own electric consumption, consider solar lights. Lighting ones walkway with solar stepping stones or using solar landscape lights is a great way of saving on ones electric bill and saving the planet year round. Other products that can help include solar string lights and solar tea lights. Both of these products can decorate the outdoor environment in an earth-friendly way.
If you want to combine sustainability and energy efficiency, consider the GardenGlow Solar Planter. This product provides a solar-lit container that is large enough to hold many different types of plantings.
If you are a DIY type of environmentalist, consider designing your own solar light system with the Rion Solar Light Kit.
Energy conservation is not limited to lights but also includes heat and air conditioning. To aid in your comfort zone consider using awnings, shades party sails, and patio umbrellas. All these products will keep the sun out of your home in the summer and can be taken down in the winter when the winter’s sun is needed.
If you are pledging to do more this year, consider supporting sustainability. Planting a container garden or raising plants in a greenhouse is a great way of having a positive impact on the environment. Or consider starting a composting program. This type of project will keep organic refuse out of the landfill while creating healthy compost that can be used in any gardening project.
Regardless of what you do, what really matters is your support of the Big Blue Planet that we all live on. So party like a rock star and join millions across the nation in celebration of Earth Hour 2012.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mindy McIntosh-Shetter has been an Agricultural Science educator, and is a horticulture and/or environmental blogger who earned a degree from Purdue University in Agriculture Education with a minor in biology, and natural resources. Presently she is finishing up her Masters in Environmental Education and Urban Planning for the University of Louisville while working on her own agriculture/environmental blog.