Earth Hour 2019: How you can help protect our planet

Going “lights out” at 8.30pm Saturday March 30th is just one way you can help protect the planet for Earth Hour. Here are 10 easy things you can do to participate.

What is Earth Hour?

Earth Hour is a global movement to protect our planet, which will be held this year on March 30th 2019. Hundreds of millions of people and businesses take part from 7000 cities, or more than 180 countries. The theme for Earth Hour 2019 is #Connect2Earth.

Earth Hour started as a local Australian event raising awareness about climate change but it has grown into a global platform for community engagement, government advocacy and transformative policy change.

While we should all be switching electronic devices off every day where possible, Earth Hour is a great reminder that our individual actions can collectively make a big impact.

When is Earth Hour 2019?

This year, it’s at 8.30pm local time on Saturday March 30th.

How to participate in Earth Hour

There are a range of different things people do to mark Earth Hour but the easiest and most common is to turn all lights off for one hour at 8.30pm local time.

Bupa’s skyline buildings across the country and all street front signages will go “lights out” to mark the occasion.

Here are 10 other ways to participate in Earth Hour 2019, and do your bit to protect the planet.

1) Ditch the packaging

Start looking at how much unnecessary packaging you use, and look at ways to cut back. Do you need to wrap that lunch in cling wrap or can you bring it in a re-usable container instead? Are you buying the pre-packaged fruits and vegetables at the supermarket for convenience? Look for unpackaged produce instead, after all it’s often cheaper per kilo! Save your money on bottled water and keep a reusable drink bottle. The fluoride in tap water helps to protect your teeth too, so it’s a win win.

2) Bring your own bag

With most major supermarkets now adopting the ban on single-use plastic bags, you’re likely to already have re-usable bags on you, even if they are hiding in your car or handbag. Next time you purchase something from a shop: clothes, shoes, lunch, the newspaper… kindly reject the store’s bag and use one of your own.

3) Have a meat free Monday

You don’t need to cut out meat completely, but even just one meat-free day a week can have a positive impact on the planet. Beef production is one of the most carbon intensive industries on the planet and Australia and New Zealand are paying the price, being some of the largest beef producers in the world. Having a meat free day, or even just switching to chicken or seafood, is a big call for some but it’s good for our health and for the planet too. Read our dietitian Rosalyn D’Angelo’s take on how meat-free days can be good for your health.

4) Buy less, for your wellness

Minimalism is a growing trend where people buy only what you really need. From clothing, to gifts and gadgets, we are living in a consumption culture, buying things that may bring us temporary joy but that only serve a purpose for a short time. There is growing evidence to show that a clutter-free environment improves your wellbeing, both mentally and financially and also has a positive sustainability impact. Check out The Minimalists or watch their doco on Netflix for a meaningful life with less.

5) Make a keep cup part of your daily habit

Coffee is one of the things many people purchase almost every day and yet most coffee cups aren’t recyclable due to the plastic lining on the inside. Many coffee shops also offer a discount for people who bring their own cups, so you can keep your daily habit guilt-free and get a return on investment after 15 cups of coffee. More than one billion takeaway cups are thrown away or littered each year in Australia.

6) Watch Before the Flood to learn more

Before the Flood is a recent documentary on climate change. Created and narrated by Leonard DiCaprio, this documentary puts a spotlight on the fact that sustainability is not an issue for future generations, it’s an issue for our generation. This doco nails the problem but also recognises that we can regenerate and reverse the effects of climate change if we all act now.

7) Join 1 Million Women making better choices

1 Million Women is global movement that acknowledges women are often the decision makers in the home and are a driving force to creating a low carbon life. They do this through home energy savings and clean energy options, minimising food waste, reducing overconsumption, investing and divesting (your money) wisely, sustainable fashion, low-impact travel and much more. These simple actions are not only good for the environment but also good for your back pocket.

8) Pick it up

If you see rubbish on the ground, pick it up. Sounds gross – but not as gross as what happens if that rubbish ends up in our waterways. It’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure their own rubbish ends up in the bin – or better, in the right recycling bin – but picking up someone else’s rubbish goes one step further to protecting our planet.

9) Turn it off

Going “lights off” for earth hour is a great start – and a powerful reminder of how easy it is to switch off and make a difference. But you can take that further by mindfully switching off every day. If you’re not using your computer or other home appliances, turn them off at the power source. Any time you leave a room, switch the lights off. Every time. Easy as that.

10) Spread the word

Share this article with as many people as you can to encourage others to get involved and to make small daily changes to help protect the planet. 

Think a few bits of plastic won’t make a big difference? Watch this video – 40 kilograms of plastic was found in the stomach of just one dead whale.

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