BY JASMINE KAPOOR
This year, on Saturday, March 24th, over 7000 cities and 187 countries participated in Earth Hour from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. This event was first observed in Sydney, Australia in 2007, and since then, Earth Hour has become a staple in society. The purpose of this hour is to turn off electric lights for one hour to conserve electricity and bring awareness to the environment and climate change.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, populations of more than 50% of monitored species have declined by an average of 83% since 1970. Worldwide, 67% of wildlife populations are predicted to be lost by the year 2020. There is also the threat of one in six species of going extinct due to the actions of humans. There are many factors resulting in these heartbreaking statistics, some of which are: pollution, loss of habitat, invasive species, and climate change.
While issues involving the environment can be overwhelming because there is so much to be done, it is crucial that we all stay educated and focus on what we can do to help preserve our Earth, as well as advocating for more large-scale action toward improving the state of the environment. Earth Hour is an excellent opportunity for us to recognize that if we all pitch in, we as everyday people, are capable of creating significant change in the state of the environment. After all, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. You might think that turning off the lights when you’re by yourself is insignificant and does not have the power to save the Earth, but when millions of people have that same thought and turn off their lights anyway, we see the potential of a better Earth with the foundations set in the unity of humanity.
Earth Hour is also an excellent time for families to grow closer together without the distractions that come from technology. Instead of watching TV after dinner, take out a deck of cards and light some candles (placed safely away from anything flammable, of course). Remind yourself that amid the hustle and bustle of your life, there will always be the little things that might go unnoticed and even unappreciated, but matter greatly.
Most importantly, don’t forget that while it’s great to get involved with Earth Hour, don’t let your involvement stop there! Turn off the lights when you don’t need them as often as possible in your everyday life, don’t litter, and take more time to spend with your family without distractions. If we are able to cultivate and continue these habits, one day, the world will become a better – and greener – place.