Things to do after you turn the lights off

If you haven’t already diarised it, Saturday the 31st March at 8.30pm is Earth Hour. Described by WWF as “one awesome positive global blackout Mexican wave”, Earth Hour raises awareness about climate change in a very visible way. Last year, people in over 5 200 cities and towns across 135 countries participated by switching off their lights for one whole hour.

But these days, we are so heavily reliant on electricity and technology for entertainment. What on earth are we going to do without lights on a Saturday night?

Electricity-free fun during Earth Hour

Almost everything is more special by candle light. If you don’t already have plans, try one of these ideas to make your Earth Hour a fun, meaningful time.

  • Dust off those board games, invite some friends around, and have a good laugh as you rediscover the delights of Monopoly, Cluedo or charades.
  • Reconnect with your children as you take turns telling stories. They could be real stories about your family history, or you could be creative and make up a new fairytale together.
  • Use the time to think about your goals or dreams. Our lives are so filled with busyness that we rarely allow ourselves the chance to reflect on who we are becoming, or where we are heading. You could use the hour to think quietly about what is really important.
  • Go outside (perhaps with a blanket and hot chocolate now that it’s autumn) and enjoy the stars. They should appear brighter and clearer, especially if there are enough people switching off their lights. When last were you in nature, at night

Whatever you do, spend at least some of the time thinking about the natural world and your impact on it. Think critically about how you live, and identify practical ways you could make a positive difference. Resolve to implement these changes as soon as possible.

Going beyond the Hour

Reducing your electricity usage is a very easy way to help in the fight against climate change. It saves you money too – and you don’t even need to buy expensive technology! Here are three FREE energy-saving habits to begin today:

  • Turn your geyser down to 60 degrees. You don’t need to waste electricity to boil water to shower or bath in – you’re just going to mix it with cold anyway. You can find the thermostat in the little cover over the geyser’s electrical element. Turning it down will save you 5% on your electricity bill.
  • Switch off your geyser if you’re not going to use it for several hours. Geysers use up to 40% of your electricity, so by controlling your use, you can save a significant amount of electricity and money. If you shower in the morning, switch your geyser off afterwards, and switch it on last thing before bed. (Even better, install a geyser timer to switch it on automatically two hours before you get up.)
  • Switch off all unused appliances at the wall (e.g. TVs, DVD players, computers, phone chargers, etc). Don’t leave them in standby mode, they still use electricity – and what’s the point? This easy habit will save you up to 6% of your electricity bill.

Already doing these things at home? Spread the love and introduce energy saving at your workplace. Your boss will thank you!

Want to know more about Earth Hour? Visit Earth Hour’s official site at http://www.earthhour.org or watch the official Earth Hour video on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FovYv8vf5_E.

Published on Jacaranda FM’s website on 29 March 2012

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