Many of us across the world continue to stay home with the objective of flattening the COVID-19 curve. While following safety precautions over the past year, you may have had some extra time to reflect on the state of our planet and the need for sustainable actions to be widely increased. One way to safely connect with a global community that echoes similar concerns is to celebrate World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour from home – this Saturday, March 27th at 8:30 pm!
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 27, 2021 at 8:30 pm your local time. Then, the World Wildlife Fund invites you to draw attention to nature loss and the climate crisis by taking part in their Earth Hour Virtual Spotlight.
Earth Hour during a time of pandemic
Over the past year, many people adapted their busy lifestyles to stay home in an effort to contain the spread of the pandemic. 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. Subsequently, these observations can inspire us to look at our own day-to-day actions and implement measures to better care for the natural world.
That being said, though 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 the pandemic. 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 a waste policy officer at NGO Zero Waste Europe. So when you have an extra moment, become familiar with the nearest recycling collection locations to you. Easily search for a small appliance and power tool recycling depot at: https://www.electrorecycle.ca/recycle/.
And if you’re not sure about the types of small appliances and power tools accepted at ElectroRecycle’s free collection locations. Check out the full list right here! Over 400 items can be dropped off for recycling at depots across BC!
For inquiries about recycling other types of 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. Do some spring cleaning to help determine the items that really spark joy in your life. Then, 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 through chats or online activities. Check out free or low-cost online courses, conferences, and workshops to learn something new. Here are a few ideas and feel free to share any suggestions with us in the comments too!
- Squamish CAN offers green-themed workshops.
- Metro Van Repair Cafes holds online Repair Cafes.
- Take part in the Recycling Council of BC’s 2021 Virtual Circular Economy Conference.
- Check with the Regional District of Central Okanagan for a variety of online sustainability events.
- The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen holds regular composting workshops.
- Metro Vancouver hosts great basic sewing videos on how to repair your clothes and reduce waste.
- For the kids – check out the Planet Protector Academy’s Zero Heroes Program which offers live webcast sessions.
4. TWEAK YOUR HABITS
Lastly, 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 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. For example, you could hold an eco-friendly fashion show out of recyclables or have a themed Environmental Movie Night! You can stream some great documentaries for free through the 2021 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 more respectful of all it has to offer!