Odd Holidays: Earth Hour Day


Earth Hour Day, established to raise awareness for climate change, is celebrated annually worldwide on the last Saturday in March, which is today, Saturday, March 26.

Earth Hour Day was organized by the Worldwide Fund for Nature, commonly referred to as WWF. The idea was developed in 2004, when the WWF met with an advertising agency to get citizens of Australia aware of climate change. In 2006, the idea was renamed as “The Big Flick.” While Earth Hour Day was initiated by the WWF in Australia in 2007, it is now celebrated worldwide and encourages individuals to turn off non-essential electric lights for an hour between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. on the last Saturday of March.

According to nationaltoday.com, in 2008, Earth Hour 2008 was held internationally on March 29 from 8 to 9 p.m. local time and had 35 countries around the world participating, with over 400 cities in support. Landmarks around the world turned off their non-essential lighting for Earth Hour and Google’s homepage went dark. Participating countries and cities experienced a vast reduction in megawatt-hours and carbon dioxide reduction. Furthermore, it is noted that Earth Hour Day is an event that allows people to participate in acting against global climate change by turning off their non-essential electric devices.

National Geographic defines climate change as, “a long-term shift in global or regional climate patterns. Often climate change refers specifically to the rise in global temperatures from the mid-20th century to present.” Different places have different climates, such as a desert, which is very dry, and a tropical climate, which is hot and humid. Climate change refers to the changing weather patterns in certain areas. If weather patterns change and/or become unpredictable, it directly effects things and can make a large impact in growing and maintain crops in farming regions. Climate change also impacts weather events, such as hurricanes, floods and winter storms. Warmer temperatures in polar areas are associated with climate change and have caused sea levels to rise secondary to accelerated melting of ice sheets and glaciers. The rising sea levels also effect coastlines by increasing flooding and causing erosion.

Current climate change is imposed greatly by human activity, such as burning fossil fuels like natural gas, oil, and coal. “Burning these materials releases what are called greenhouse gases into Earth’s atmosphere. There, these gases trap heat from the sun’s rays inside the atmosphere causing Earth’s average temperature to rise. This rise in the planet’s temperature is called global warming. The warming of the planet impacts local and regional climates. Throughout Earth’s history, climate has continually changed. When occurring naturally, this is a slow process that has taken place over hundreds and thousands of years. The human influenced climate change that is happening now is occurring at a much faster rate,” as stated by nationalgeographic.com.

Besides switching off non-essential electric devices, there are many other ways to make a change and help the environment. WWF created an app called “Footprint.” The app is said to guide you in “small but impactful decisions to save the environment.” Additionally, one can help raise and spread awareness by sharing about Earth Hour and inspiring others to participate. Nationaltoday.com stated, “The Earth is our home and it is a collective effort. Earth Hour involves every human being and doesn’t leave the responsibilities to a few. This lets us know it takes a collective effort to make a big change, and we can all do our parts to make it better.”

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