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Lights out for the planet as millions join Earth Hour

Emma Benns, March 24, 2022 6:30PM Kids News

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Earth Hour on March 26, 2022, encourages people to think about climate change and what they can do to make a difference. media_cameraEarth Hour on March 26, 2022, encourages people to think about climate change and what they can do to make a difference.

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The lights will go out in more than 7000 cities in 190 countries and territories around the world to mark Earth Hour this weekend.

Millions of people are set to switch off their lights for 60 minutes at 8.30pm on Saturday, March 26, in a symbolic* movement to save the planet.

WHY TURN OFF THE LIGHTS?
The global event aims to raise awareness about climate change and calls for stronger action to combat the climate crisis.

Energy use – including lighting our homes and other buildings – is the main cause of human-made greenhouse gases* that are being released into Earth’s atmosphere*, causing global temperatures to rise.

Turning off the electric lights for one hour is a chance to think about how much energy we use, the impact this is having on Earth and ways we can reduce this harmful impact.

media_cameraHannah Brodin from Minnie Water in NSW was a 2017 Earth Hour ambassador. Picture: Debrah Novak

The 2022 Earth Hour theme is #ShapeOurFuture. It encourages all people to play a part in reducing climate change.

“There’s never been a more critical time for us to come together to protect our planet and shape our future,” said World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Australia chief executive Dermot O’Gorman.

“The future for koalas, the Great Barrier Reef and the Murray Darling River system is bleak* unless we take steps today to address the effects of climate change, which is already having a huge impact on our beloved animals and landscapes.”

The recent devastating floods in NSW and Queensland and another mass bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef have further highlighted the impact of climate change in Australia.

International landmarks turn off the lights for Earth Hour

WHERE DID EARTH HOUR START?
Earth Hour was created by WWF and started in Sydney in 2007. Since then it has spread to more than 190 countries and territories and become one of the world’s largest grassroots* movements for the environment.

media_cameraEarth Hour aims to highlight the loss of nature, like this deforestation in the Amazon, as well as raising awareness about climate change. Picture: AFP

The event has always focused on climate change but has recently also highlighted the loss of nature. It aims to encourage individuals to take action and then harness* the collective* power of all of these individuals to drive change.

“Earth Hour reminds us that small actions add up – and can make a big difference,” said WWF ambassador, singer and swimmer Cody Simpson.

“When we make changes in our own lives, talk about it and call for a change, we inspire change around us.”

WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS YEAR?
Famous landmarks around the globe will fall into darkness for Earth Hour this year, including the Harbour Bridge and Opera House in Sydney, the London Eye, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Colosseum in Rome, New York’s Empire State Building, Cairo’s pyramids and Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue.

media_cameraThe Sydney Harbour Bridge before (top) and after (bottom) its lights were switched off for Earth Hour in 2017. Picture: AAP Image

HOW CAN KIDS TAKE PART?
There are lots of ways kids can take action to help our climate, including turning off the lights in your home for Earth Hour on Saturday night and using that time to talk to your family about climate change.

Here are some other suggested ways you can make a difference to the environment:

  • create a worm farm
  • use compost bins
  • plant a vegetable garden
  • plant trees and flowers in your garden that attract bees and pollinating* birds
  • reduce, reuse and recycle the items you use
Compost media_cameraStudents from Bondi Beach Public School tend to their worm farm in 2017. Picture: John Appleyard

For more information about Earth Hour see earthhour.org.au

GLOSSARY

  • symbolic: acting as a symbol, which is a thing that represents or stands for something else
  • greenhouse gases: gases in Earth’s atmosphere that trap heat
  • atmosphere: gases that surround planets, including Earth
  • bleak: not hopeful or encouraging
  • grassroots: basic level, involving ordinary people
  • harness: control and make use of
  • collective: done by people acting as a group
  • pollinating: taking pollen from one plant to another so that new plant seeds can be produced

EXTRA READING

Earth Hour: Change the way we live

Understanding climate change

Meet the greenhouse gas makers

How kids can make a difference to climate change

QUICK QUIZ

  1. What date is Earth Hour on this year?
  2. How many cities in how many countries and territories take part?
  3. What is the theme of Earth Hour this year?
  4. Which organisation created Earth Hour?
  5. What is the purpose of Earth Hour?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. A lesson through time!
Create a time capsule. Find an old container. This could be a shoebox, a jar, jewellery box etc. but make sure it’s recycled! Write a letter to your future self containing three pledges that you will make now, to help the environment and the future of the world. Draw a picture of how you would like the world to look when you open the time capsule. Continue to fill the container with keepsakes such as photos and trinkets. Then, keep the time capsule in a very safe place (or bury it!) and open in 10 years. 

Time: allow 30-40 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: Geography, Science, Digital Technologies, History, English

2. Extension
Write a paragraph explaining the way the world should be when you open the time capsule. What is the environment like? What is the government like? What are schools, roads, celebrities, businesses and people like?

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Science, Digital Technologies, Geography

VCOP ACTIVITY
Creative vocabulary
Find a bland sentence from the article to up-level. Can you add more detail and description? Can you replace any “said” words with more specific synonyms?

Have you outdone yourself and used some really great vocabulary throughout your writing? Firstly, well done. Secondly, let’s ensure everyone can understand it by adding a glossary of terms. Pick three of your wow words and create a glossary for each word to explain what it means.

Extra Reading in explainers