When I saw it, my first instinct, naturally, was to think there was something was wrong with with my computer - like a virus or a problem with my LCD monitor, but after taking a closer look, I realized that the blackened page was simply a neat reminder about Earth Hour.
What is Earth Hour?
Earth Hour is a worldwide event that invites people everywhere to turn off their lights and non-essential electrical appliances for just one hour in order to promote electricity conservation and lower carbon emissions.
Earth Hour takes place on Saturday, March 29th (today!) from 8:00pm until 9:00pm. So when 8 o'clock rolls around in your local timezone tonight, don't forget to turn off your lights, power down and do your part to conserve energy. Just see how much fun you can have in dark! :)
Cities all around the world are holding events to acknowledge their commitment to energy conservation, some of which include: Copenhagen, Toronto, Chicago, Atlanta, Phoenix, San Francisco, Melbourne, Brisbane, Dubai, and Tel Aviv.
To visit the official Earth Hour website go here. Note: It may take a couple of tries to get the Earth Hour site to load, as their servers are being bombarded with traffic right now.
Washington, D.C. Not Participating?!
What the?! After looking over the complete list of partner cities, I noticed that Washington, D.C. is not on it. Personally, I am quite disgusted by this. I think it sends a very clear message to the world (as if we needed yet another one) that many of those in the US government don't give a lick about anything that doesn't put money directly into their own crooked pockets.
And truthfully, I don't expect George Dumbya and his cronies to ever take an "honest" interest in anything dealing with conservation, anyway - at least not for "environmental" reasons. And if I did, I'd obviously have to be sniffing glue. And thankfully, I gave that up just last week. :P
Do Your Part - Please
While Earth Hour is a great idea, and does lower electricity consumption (for example: The 2007 Earth Hour is estimated to have cut electricity consumption in Sidney, Australia by between 2.1% and 10.2%, with approximately 2.2 million people taking part.), it is only one hour of one day of the year.
In order to really improve the environment we must make energy-saving practices a part of our daily routine. That means doing such things as:
• switching your light bulbs to energy efficient light bulbs
• turning off the lights when you're not in a room
• switching to cleaner electricity sources like "green power"
• driving less or as little as possible
These are some very easy things we can do to make a difference for the better, both for the short-term and for the long-term.
Are You Plugged In?
Also, don't forget to not only turn off appliances and such when they're not in use, but to unplug them as well! Cell phone chargers, televisions, stereos, computers, kitchen appliances, etc., all continue to draw and use up electricity when they're plugged in - even if they're completely turned off.
It's estimated that close to 75% of all electricity used to power electronics in the average home is consumed by products that are turned off, but still plugged into a wall socket. If you've ever noticed how your cell phone charger is warm to the touch, even when it's not attached to your cell phone, that's why.
So be sure to unplug chargers (cell phones, iPods, etc.) when they're not in use as they can eat up a lot of electricity - and a lot of your money! In fact, only 5% of the power drawn by a cell phone charger is actually used to recharge the cell phone. The other 95% is wasted when it's left plugged in.
Doing My Part
In addition to driving as little as possible, about two years ago I started unplugging things when they weren't in use (lamps, the coffee pot, the microwave, my stereos, my computer and printer, etc.) and I can definitely attest to the fact that it will lower your electric bill. So not only is it much better for the environment, it's also much better for your wallet. :)
Of course, if you use that saved money to go out and buy even more energy-hungry equipment, then you're defeating the entire purpose. But hey, it's a free country (at least for now), and that's entirely your choice.
The Earth Hour Video - Where It All Began