Last updated: March 20. 2013 11:15AM - 1221 Views
By Jen Stevens, Weekender Correspondent



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Last year was the first time I participated in Earth Hour, and this weekend, I plan on participating again.

Earth Hour 2013 will be held on Saturday, March 23 at 8:30 pm. To participate in Earth Hour, all you have to is switch your lights off for one hour to show your commitment to the environment and that you are willing to go the extra step to save the planet.

Back in 2007, the World Wildlife Federation in Australia inspired Sydney residents to show support to stop climate change with the first Earth Hour event. This event showed that a lot of people, from children to politicians, cared enough to support the cause. That year, over two million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned out their lights to show their support.

In 2008, the mission for Earth Hour was to take over the rest of Australia, but a few other major cities joined in and it grew to almost 400 cities and towns that participated. Since then, the invitation to participate in Earth Hour was extended to everyone, no matter what part of the world they live in. The event continued to grow, and in 2012, Earth Hour celebrated its largest event with more than 7,000 cities and towns turning out their lights.

While it might sound a bit silly, turning off your lights for one hour actually makes quite an impact. The simple act of registering for Earth Hour means that individuals are acknowledging that they will not only shut their lights off for that hour, but from that day forward, they will make conscious decisions when it comes to preserving the environment.

A more recent part of Earth Hour is the Earth Hour City Challenge, founded in Sweden in 2011. Over 70 percent of the world's CO2 emissions are generated by cities, the Earth Hour City Challenge was created to raise awareness and encourage cities to move towards a greener future. Cities are invited to submit plans that would make them more eco-friendly. Solutions and plans that will make cities greener will be considered most important in this challenge, and one city will be named the Earth Hour Capital for that year.

I found out about Earth Hour through social media, and 2012 was the first year that I participated in the event. I shut off all of my lights, turned off all of my appliances, (TV, computer, phone, iPod, etc.) and simply lit a few candles around the house. It was actually pretty relaxing!

Because it was so easy, I promised myself that I would participate every year. It seems to be catching on, and I hope that it becomes popular in this area. If people keep coming together like this to make a difference, maybe a sustainable future isn't that far off.


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