LIVING SUSTAINABLY: Earth Hour-Little Things CAN Change the World
By Carolyn Ulstad, Holland Sustainability Committee
When I first heard about Earth Hour happening in cities like Paris, Singapore, Dubai and New York, I couldn’t help but start dreaming up what it could be like to bring it here to Holland.
For some background, Earth Hour started in 2007 as a lights-out event in Sydney, Australia. It has since grown to more than 170 countries and territories worldwide and has become one of the world’s largest grassroots movements for the environment. Every year households, businesses and iconic buildings in major cities turn off their lights for one hour to promote energy conservation, celebrate our night sky and raise awareness about how we impact our environment.
After a few conversations at our meetings and excited by the idea, the City of Holland’s Sustainability Committee decided to move forward in promoting Earth Hour to our community. This year, Earth Hour in Holland is taking place from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 25.
Our hope is to inspire you and your families to take the pledge to change your energy use for at least one hour.
A great way to get started is to think about what’s important to you.
I love Earth Hour because it’s completely customizable. If your concerns are about bees and pollinators, make it about that. If you care about light pollution or wildlife habitat, make those the focus. I myself will be participating for the first time and felt I should ask an Earth Hour veteran why he participates.
I spoke to Steven Bouma-Prediger, professor of religion at Hope College. Bouma-Prediger has been celebrating Earth Hour for the past four years and told me that he initially got involved “since it seemed like a creative and fun way to bring attention to energy use (and abuse) and highlight the issue of climate change, in a coordinated way with people from all over our home planet.”
That same potential for global collective power is what drew me to Earth Hour.
If you need some help getting started, visit the Earth Hour website for ideas. Consider actions like these: If you’re eating a late dinner, maybe sit by candle light. If you have little ones at home, get them involved by reading a bedtime story by flashlight. If you represent a business, school or church, encourage your members to take the pledge as well.
Go to https://goo.gl/QhJbY9 to sign up for the Earth Hour pledge.
If you are looking for something to do that afternoon, come join us at 3 p.m. Saturday in Graves Hall, 263 College Ave., on the Hope College campus for a free showing of the documentary “The City Dark,” which highlights the effects of light pollution.
A closing word from Bouma-Prediger is this African proverb: “Many little people in many little places doing many little things can change the world.”
Carolyn Ulstad is a resident of Holland and sits on the Holland Community Sustainability Committee.
HOLLAND_NIGHTPHOTO: Earth Hour on Saturday, March 25, encourages Holland residents to turn off lights for an hour to raise awareness and celebrate the night sky. Courtesy photo – Go Dark Initiative
EARTHHOUR SPARKLE – Earth Hour is an international event bringing awareness to saving energy and celebrating the night sky, coming to Holland on Saturday, March 25. Courtesy photo – World Wildlife Fund
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ABOUT THIS SERIES
Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland, and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to www.hope.edu/sustainability-institute for more information.