Now that Earth Hour has passed, what is everyone going to do for the rest of the year? I don’t really understand how switching off the lights for one hour of the year is really going to help in the long term, unless it has really made people think about how they can sustainably work towards climate change.
If you are a mom and you imagine your child’s future, you don’t want to think that they will be living in a world which has largely been destroyed by the actions of past generations. In our household we are committed to action beyond the hour, not purely for environmental reasons but for financial reasons too. Saving energy makes sense.
What are we doing every day of the year, and what can you perhaps change in your household? Firstly, we switch our lights off every night, not only for one hour during Earth Hour. We only switch a light on briefly to find something, and then switch it off again. We do not watch TV with the lights on. When it comes to reading we have switched from paper to digital, not only saving paper but also keeping the lights out. When using a back-lit Kindle or iPad you don’t need a light source to read by.
Another big electricity saving in our household is the use of a solar-powered geyser. If having solar-power installed is too costly, then you can always make sure to switch your geyser off when you don’t need it. During winter in Cape Town when there is often not much sun, we switch our geyser on from about 4pm so that we have hot water for the evening, and switch it off again when we go to bed. Sometimes you do have to sacrifice having hot water on tap (I’m forgetful!) but it is worth it when you consider the amount of energy and cost that is saved.
Lastly, all the other little things we do add up to make a small difference. We recycle our plastics, paper and cans. We use borehole water to irrigate our garden. When it rains I put buckets out to collect rain water for the pot plants. I try to buy products which are free range or organic where possible, and support local producers. I hope that by instilling these values in our children we will raise a generation who take environmental stewardship seriously and will hopefully manage to reverse the trend.