Many of us across the planet are working from home with the objective of flattening the COVID-19 curve. While practicing this necessary “social distancing” approach, it is enabling us to slow down and reflect on the state of our planet. One way for us to do this as a global community is to celebrate World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour from home this Saturday March 28th at 8:30 pm (your local time).
What is Earth Hour?
Earth Hour started in 2007 as a symbolic lights-out celebration in Sydney, Australia. It is now engaging millions of people in more than 180 countries and territories. The event has become a catalyst for positive environmental impact and has driven major legislative changes by harnessing the power of the people. Switch off your lights at home for an hour on Saturday, March 28, 2020 at 8:30 pm your local time. Then tune in to one of World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF’s) live streams and connect globally to fellow environmentalists.
Earth Hour during a time of pandemic
The World Health Authorities are asking everyone to stay home in an effort to contain the spread of the pandemic. As a result, we must adapt our often busy lifestyles. Mike Berners-Lee, author of “How bad are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything” says “If there is a good side to COVID-19, it is that we have more time to think about treating the planet more carefully, and time to do more of the right things for the environment“.
You have likely read about the sustained decrease of nitrogen dioxide in Wuhan, China or the improvement of water quality in Italy as fish have reappeared. These observations can inspire us to look at our own day to day actions and implement measures to better care for the natural world.
Although some positive environmental impacts are a small light in the darkness of this virus, in no way does it negate the pain and grief unleashed by this epidemic. Joining Earth Hour is a time for us to connect to each other, to the planet, and act for a greener future.
Earth Hour & Recycling – What you can do
1. Take time to inform yourself
Recent research “identified lack of time as a specific factor in making recycling more difficult for people” says Pierre Condamine, waste policy officer at NGO Zero Waste Europe. If you are not sure about the types of small appliances and power tools that are accepted at our recycling depots, check out the full list right here. More than 400 items are accepted at Electrorecycle’s BC Depots!
When you have an extra moment, take the time to research your nearest recycling depots. Easily search for a small appliance and power tool recycling depot at: https://www.electrorecycle.ca/recycle/. However, given the current situation, we strongly encourage you to reserve your small appliance and power tool recycling for when the COVID-19 pandemic has passed.
For recycling inquiries about other items, we recommend using the Recycling Council of British Columbia’s Recyclepedia. Alternatively, you can call their Recycling Hotline at: 604-RECYCLE (604-732-9253) or 1-800-667-4321.
2. start spring cleaning
One way of celebrating the planet is to reflect on your consumption habits. Doing some spring cleaning can help determine the items that really do spark joy in your life. Take some time to sort items that you want to repair and items that can be donated to those in need. Read more about how to organize your spring cleaning here.
3. Use this time to learn something new
Most of us are lucky to have access to technology to connect with each other through chats or online activities. There are also many free or low cost online courses, conferences, and workshops to learn something new. Squamish CAN is offering online gardening workshops (April 5th, May 3rd and June 7th, 2020). In addition, Metro Vancouver is hosting Think Thrice Facebook Live events, check their Facebook page for dates. Tune in remotely to learn how to repair your items and reduce waste!
4. TWEAK YOUR HABITS
Spending more time at home and less time on the go may enable you to prepare some simple and delicious dishes. Staying home and avoiding take-out meals and single use coffee cups will help lower your single-use plastic consumption. That being said, this is a delicate time for local businesses. Please consider buying gift certificates for future use from your community’s independent restaurants. In the meantime, plan to eat in-house and plastic free.
There are many other Earth-friendly habits you can implement in your daily life. Visit WWF’s website to learn more simple changes you can make to your daily life today!
Looking for more ideas on how to celebrate Earth Hour, including kid-friendly ideas? The Earth Hour website has posted 20+ ideas to celebrate at home, like holding an eco-friendly fashion show out of recyclables or having a themed Environmental Movie Night. You can stream some great documentaries for free through the 2020 Environmental Film Festival website and watch Our Planet on Netflix.
However you choose to celebrate Earth Hour, let’s use the additional time we are spending at home to be extra gentle to the Earth and be more respectful of all it has to offer!