Thoughts from Earth Hour 2015

Earth hour is a worldwide movement that encouraging individuals, families, and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour as a symbol for their commitment to the plant. It is usually held on the last Saturday at the end of the March. World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) organizes the movement and the first event was taken place at Sydney on March 31, 2007. According to the statistics, Earth Hour 2013 took place in more than 7001 cities and towns in 154 countries and territories across all seven continents. Hundreds of millions of people switched their lights off for an hour, and the campaign experienced its biggest growth since 2009. There were around 3395 landmarks that participated.

Earth Hour 2015 Highlights

This year, Earth Hour was held on March 28 between 8:30pm and 9:30pm in our local time zone. My parents, boyfriend and I participated the event in both New York City and Beijing. Also, much more friends of me jump into the Earth Hours event. We are saving our planet:D

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(These numbers are based on initial reports and estimates as of Sunday 29th March 5:30 AM GMT. They will be updated to reflect final statistics following detailed analysis.)

The aim of Earth Hour is not just focusing on the lights-off event. Certainly, the first thing anyone can do to get involved is to turn off lights on Saturday. But there is much, much more. Earth Hour’s full ambition is for people to take action beyond the hour. Countless power is being wasted everyday in our home.  So, the event also reminds me of the content of our first class in this term: test the consumptions of small appliances and light bulbs under the standby mode.

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Photo by Zhi Yang

According to a report by Scott Pigg, a researcher at the Energy Center of Wisconsin, home electronic use across the state is consuming power equivalent to that generated by a small power plant. “The 5.5 million televisions in Wisconsin homes use about 800 million kilowatt-hours a year, or roughly the amount generated by a 100 megawatt power plant. A step as simple as changing the power management settings on a home PC will take less time than running to the store and buying another energy-saving light bulb.” Pigg suggested.

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Back to the event, I heard about this annual project when I was in undergraduate school. I consider this is a really good opportunity to connect the people from all over the world of creating a sustainable world. We started doing Earth Hour in my house at Beijing since 2011. In the past five years, we never stopped even when I came to the New York University after 2012, which makes me so proud of my families. It was interesting if we look back and review how much progress we made. At the very beginning, it was me to asked my families to turn off the lights on Earth Hour day. My father was opposed my suggestion initially. He said you could do wherever you want outside of our house. He hated the smell of candles and accustomed with a bright environment when he was at home.

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A lighted lamp in a room without people.

photo by Zhi Yang

My family used to pay a great deal of money on electricity due to the non-essential lights and other appliances that are not necessary to be kept open with. The most serious problem was my parents did not think there is anything wrong to keep a light on in a room with no people. In mainland of China, most of the families from middle class and rich class lacks of the basic awareness of power conservation. They believe that the more lights in their houses, the more wealth they have. Finally, my father agreed to turn all of the lights for an hour. I still remember on that day, I lighted up some candles. We seated on the couch and watch a movie together. And he admitted later that this event didn’t impact his life at all. From that time point, we are using less and less lights than we used to. I believe this is one of the goals by the events founders.

You can also see more official videos here. Use #yourpower to change the climate change. I hope we can do it together in the next year.

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