It’s time to get excited for the environment. It’s that time of year when millions around the world will switch off for an hour as a gift to the planet. Let’s celebrate Earth Hour together on 19 March from 8.30-9.30pm (South African time).
The environmental campaign, created by WWF in 2007, has grown into the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment and its protection. Its deepest impacts are beginning to reveal themselves through the day-to-day efforts of individuals and businesses.
This year will shine a light on climate action by encouraging everyone to take small actions that collectively translate into a big impact on climate change.
Here are 10 ways to shine your light on climate action:
1. Love local and in-season
We all love the allure of those delicious-looking imported goods, but seasons exist for a reason and we need to embrace them. Eating ‘seasonally’ means less of a dent in your wallet, support for local, more sustainable farmers, and healthier, better-tasting food as the food is grown closer to you so it doesn’t spoil on its journey.
2. Go veggie one day a week
Be it ‘Meat-free Mondays’ or any night you feel up to it, make a conscious effort to avoid meat for just one night of the week. The global livestock industry produces more greenhouse emissions than the world’s trains, planes, ships and cars combined.
3. Waste not
Before you throw any food away, think of the journey that product has made to reach you. Think about where your food comes from and appreciate the production processes that has gone into creating it. Buy wisely and use efficiently – waste not, want not.
4. Track your energy usage
Nowadays they make really nifty devices that monitor your home energy usage. By keeping an eye on this clever little gizmo, you can see which appliances are responsible for your high electricity bill, and work on ways to change this.
5. Turn off that old geyser
So you may risk the odd luke-warm shower while getting into the habit of turning it back on in the evenings, but that’s a small price to pay for a potential 40% reduction in household energy usage.
6. Unplug and switch off
Turning off and unplugging appliances is a ridiculously easy way to save energy and decrease your electricity bill. Although the individual energy saving might seem slight, with the extraordinary volume of TVs, laptops and mobile phones in the world, the collective impact would be far from negligible. Same goes for light switches. Switch them off when you leave the room.
7. Flush much?
Many toilets have cisterns the size of hippopotami and flushing mechanisms that last an eternity. 99% of the time just a small flush with a fraction of the water will do the trick. Either lift the handle once you’ve flushed or place a two-litre bottle of water (ironically called a water hippo) in your cistern so that less water is needed to fill.
8. Every little, dripping droplet counts
The sounds of a leaking tap ‘tip-top-tap’-ping away is enough to do one’s head in. What’s even more likely to do your head in is knowing that a slow, dripping tap can waste up to 30 litres of water per day.
Embrace this trending era of vintage-inspired ‘things’ by doing the same with your waste. Check out Upcycle That for some awesome ideas.
We forget that when we throw away a piece of glass, paper, plastic or tin, it either ends up in overflowing landfills or gets transformed into a gleaming new product that the world can reuse. It’s up to you to decide which path it takes. Start recycling and feel Earth breathe a sigh of relief.
Making a difference has never been easier. Take a minute to make your pledge for change at earthhour.org.za/pledge or support WWF South Africa by getting a MyPlanet card and making them one of your beneficiaries.