In the past we have celebrated it at home, with candles and boardgames with family and friends. Last year we had a front lawn party at the neighbours house which was a good excuse for a few home brew beers.
Quite frankly, every hour is Earth Hour at our place. That is just the lifestyle we lead. Don't get me wrong, I am excited about it as I am every year about this time. Earth Hour is fun.
There have been many things said about Earth hour, good and bad. I believe that it creates a sense of belonging to a cause, and sends a message that people want action on climate change. Some people wrongly try and determine the carbon footprint of the event. It is not about reducing our carbon footprint for one measly hour out of the 8760 hours in a year. It is symbolic and it is about the empowerment it gives people the outlet to do what they think is right. Given the opportunity, everyone wants to do the right thing by the planet. After all, it is the only one we have and it is our home.
We usually power down for the entire day except for the fridge of course because that would be wasteful! No TV! No computers! No lights! Just family and meaningful conversations. It is one day of the year that I just enjoy everyone's company. A bit like Christmas day without the family arguments!
This year, we will be talking about the things we could be doing better to reduce our environmental footprint. Even though we generate most of our electricity needs, there are always habits and behaviours that need to be reinforced. Lights left on is always a classic by the kids, and it doesn't seam to matter how old they get, they still walk out the room leaving it on to get a rise out of their old Dad :-)
But then what happens at 9:30pm when the event is finished? Do people just go back to their normal paradigm and flick the switch back on? I don't know the answer to these questions, because before we changed our reality to that of a green one, we didn't participate in Earth Hour (probably because it hadn't been invented in October 2006 now that I think of it). May I make a suggestion? When you decide to turn the lights and everything else back on, why don't you calculate your own environmental footprint using the WWF Australia Footprint Calculator.
I gave it a go and to maintain our families lifestyle we would need 1.8 planets! Go figure. We do a heck of a lot around the TGOG urban farm but we still need 1.8 planets. It is not a detailed as doing a carbon inventory, however it suits the purpose that it was designed for, and that is to make you realise that by making small changes to your lifestyle, you can indeed make a difference.
Oh, and before I finish, if you are in Melbourne, AU then pop along to Federation Square to join thousands of others and watch the movie Home for free! Don't forget to bring your dynamo torch or candles.
So what are you waiting for, give it a go this year if you are not a regular attendee. Get a bunch of friends together and enjoy the darkness together. Spread the word via twitter and Facebook all your cyber mates letting them know about the event, and don't forget to take photos or videos and send them to earthhour.org.au. They will post them up for the world to see!
And most of all, after the event has finished, don't rest on your laurels and congratulate yourself too much. There is so much more to be done, and you are just the person to do it. Don't wait for governments, because they won't change until we tell them to.
You are the change you have been waiting for!