Between 8:30 and 9:30pm on Saturday 25th March millions of people worldwide will turn off their lights for Earth Hour. Tim thinks that we can go one better.

I can remember my first Earth Hour. We flicked off the lights, I reluctantly turned off the Fall Out Boy and powered down my computer and we lit a half-dozen candles. Huddled in the lounge room, we waited for something to happen.

But of course nothing did. So in the absence of technology, we went outside.

From the balcony we could see out across the valley to a business park, but now only the black outlines of their lifeless architecture remained. If I’m not mistaken, the stars above the city looked just that little bit brighter.

Photo by Angus Cairney

Earth Hour started in Sydney, Australia in 2007 and quickly spread worldwide. Now 172 countries and over 7000 cities celebrate the event and turn off their lights to symbolically take a stand against climate change. In Sydney however, some of the enthusiasm has faded.

Every year now I hear the same rhetoric: “An hour doesn’t have any effect”, “Candles produce more carbon dioxide than a lightbulb”, “I don’t want to”. Whilst the point about the candles is true (sorry Mum) a general cynicism about the event can creep into the most progressive of minds.

Want to have a bigger impact on the night? Power down your house for the evening and get outside. Spend a few hours with an ecological footprint that matches your shoe size and check out the skyline, sans electrons.

Humans don’t give their night vision enough credit. We’ve got a photo-receptor in our eyes called rhodopsin that needs half an hour of darkness to regenerate. Try it for yourself, leave the house, leave your headtorch in your bag and pretty soon you’ll be blinking at the moon.

There’s no better way to celebrate Earth Hour than with the earth between your toes. Give yourself more than an hour’s break from the screens, don’t light a candle and engage with the place that Earth Hour is trying to save.

Photo by Cat Sweeny Photography

Cat Sweeny Photography