Flip the Switch: What to Do During Earth Hour

Flip the Switch: What to Do During Earth Hour

The world won’t be saved with the flip of a switch. So, it’s easy to question the point of participating in Earth Hour, the worldwide campaign that urges people to go dark for one hour once a year. After all, the simple act of turning off your electricity for 60 minutes isn’t going to make much difference in the face of global energy consumption. But the fact is, that very achievability — all you have to do is turn off the lights — has made Earth Hour one of the most popular and enduring eco-campaigns in the world. Organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), about 2.2 million people participated in the first Earth Hour in 2007. By 2022, more than 190 countries and territories were taking part, resulting in a record-setting 10.1 billion social media impressions. So, if the goal of any green-minded campaign is to encourage people to reevaluate their daily habits and think about how they can embrace sustainability, Earth Hour has been a runaway and impactful success.

At SaltyLama, we’re convinced ordinary actions can create positive change — even if it's simply swapping your regular laundry detergent for a plant-based, eco-friendly alternative that’s effective, easy to use, and free of both plastics and toxins.

This year, Earth Hour falls on March 23 — the last Saturday of March — and provides an awesome opportunity for you to enjoy quality time with friends or family, or unwind in nature. To take part, just turn off non-essential lights for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., local time. (It should also be noted Earth Hour isn’t the only eco-related celebration this week. It coincides with the International Day of Forests on March 21 and World Water Day on March 22 — two more reasons to take time to recognize our planet and the resources it provides.) So, read on to learn what Earth Hour is all about as well as seven cool ways to enjoy an hour without light pollution.

Why is Earth Hour important? 

Last year, people in more than 190 countries and territories switched off their lights for a combined 410,000 hours. No small feat — especially when you consider the campaign also provokes conversations about environmental issues, promotes sustainable practices, and inspires ongoing action to protect the planet. 

What to do during Earth Hour 

There are so many ways to get involved, from journaling by candlelight to going on an evening walk in nature.

1. Get trendy by going forest bathing 

Take a break from your daily routine and immerse yourself in nature with a practice known as forest bathing or Shinrin-yoku. While not literally a bath, forest bathing is all about spending time in a forest or green space and letting the sights, sounds, and scents of nature rejuvenate your senses. 

The Japanese have found that there are physiological and psychological benefits to spending time in nature’s atmosphere, such as lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and relieving stress. So, whether you want to go for a leisure stroll while using all your senses or you’d like to sit in nature and meditate, this is one of the best ways to take advantage of Earth Hour. 

2. Check out a podcast

For an educational way to celebrate Earth Hour, tune into an environmental podcast and educate yourself about pressing issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and sustainable living. 

Podcasts are a perfect way to spend Earth Hour because they don’t require a light source, can inform you about pressing environmental issues, and even offer a meditative experience. Among podcasts that may inspire you this Earth Hour, check out Get Sleepy’s guided meditations, Sustainababble’s talks on major environmental issues, and The Wild, a podcast about finding connection with the world in order to protect it. So, burn a candle and unwind during Earth Hour with a quality podcast. 

3. Dabble in nighttime photography or stargazing 

With the lights off in your area, grab your camera or smartphone and explore the beauty of the night sky. The higher in elevation you go, the better chance you’ll have of seeing the Milky Way and thousands of stars free of light pollution. Bring a tripod for the best results and experiment with long-exposure photography to capture stunning images of stars, and constellations, under the veil of Earth Hour’s eco-friendly darkness. 

4. Camp out in your backyard

Who says Earth Hour must be just one hour long? Keep the lights off all night long by setting up a tent in your backyard or balcony and spending the evening stargazing, unwinding with loved ones, or practicing mindfulness. 

Enjoy the evening however you like; share stories, roast marshmallows over a campfire, and enjoy the simplicity of outdoor living while reducing your energy usage indoors. 

5. Meditate outdoors 

Find a peaceful and safe spot outdoors and meditate. Connect with nature, quiet your mind, and cultivate a sense of gratitude for the natural world around you. You can meditate on your own in silence or get involved in a guided meditation with others or via a podcast. 

6. Journal in the dark

Without the excess stimulation from bright lights and loud televisions, cozy up at home or outside and participate in Earth Hour by being mindful with your thoughts. Light a candle or carry a lantern if you need a light source. Otherwise, just grab a pen and paper and start writing. Don’t think too much about what you’re writing, just allow yourself to connect with your mind, body, and nature and see what happens. After all, journaling can be immensely beneficial to your mental health, so why not give it a try this Earth Hour?

7. Check out an Earth Hour event in your community or volunteer

Many communities organize Earth Hour events, including candlelit gatherings, environmental workshops, and clean-up activities. Do an online search, check community forums, or ask around to join an event in your area or volunteer locally. This can be an excellent way to make a tangible difference in your community while supporting the mission of Earth Hour. 

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