When the lights go down in the city . . . it’s Earth Hour.
For one hour on Saturday, buildings across the five boroughs will shut down their lights to take part in Earth Hour — a worldwide event aimed at raising awareness about climate change and expressing solidarity in reducing our carbon footprint.
If you haven’t participated before, there’s much to know. Such as:
When does it occur?
March 24, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Just one hour. You can do it!
But what exactly is it?
Earth Hour is an annual lights-out event that takes place across the world. People are encouraged to turn off all the lights in their homes and buildings as a symbolic act of commitment to taking better care of the planet. The World Wildlife Fund heads up the event every year.
It was started in Sydney, Australia, in 2007, when about 2.2 million people, businesses and organizations turned off their lights to show the government that they cared about climate change.
Since then, hundreds of countries and territories have joined in simply by shutting off their lights or by taking action. Last year, Australia launched a new solar light program to provide 500 solar lights to rural communities in Ethiopia, and, in Chile, people delivered seeds and planted trees in an effort to protect forests.
Why should you care?
The Trump administration has worked to curb environmental programs championed during the Obama era that sought to advance climate change awareness, although EPA data shows that carbon dioxide emissions have continually increased since 1990.
For example, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) struck out “climate change” and words associated with it from its strategic plan. In his budget for 2019, President Trump proposed cuts to climate and clean energy programs, and more, according to National Geographic, which has a running list of ways the administration is changing environmental efforts. In December, Trump revealed a plan to downsize two national monuments in Utah, and in October, he scrapped the EPA’s Clean Power Plan that aimed to reduce carbon emissions by 32 percent by 2030.
Who takes part?
Last year, 187 countries and territories participated — that includes 12,000 landmarks and monuments, like the Empire State Building, Niagara Falls and others around the country (the Space Needle in Seattle, Willis Tower in Chicago and more).
Jared Leto and Maroon 5 broadcast live sets to fans last year, too.
OK, it’s dark, so what can you do to pass time without light?
Consider hosting an Earth Hour party, whether it’s a candlelit dinner, a trip to go stargazing or turning out all the lights while you share stories with your friends.
Earth Angel, a production company that aims to reduce its impact on the planet, is hosting a party at the Starrett-Lehigh Building in Chelsea. With food, drink, live entertainment, door prizes, DJs and a lights-out ceremony, it could be a fun way to participate. During Earth Hour, the party will be lit with candles. Visit earthangel.nyc for more information.
Whatever you end up doing, you can let others know you’re participating by using the hashtag #Connect2Earth.
And in general, the WWF suggests switching to LED lights and cutting out paper and plastic as much as possible.