Started in 2007, Earth Hour is a yearly campaign to raise awareness of global warming and other environmental challenges and encourage people to participate on a global level to protect our planet. Individuals, organizations, and cities pledge to turn off the lights for the same hour on a set day each year. Earth Hour has grown from one city in 2007 to hundreds of thousands of people in 2013 in more than 150 countries and even outer space. The amount of electricity saved during that one hour of millions of homes and even major cities shutting of the lights is quite significant. However, saving the planet isn’t just about one hour that is why Earth Hour has grown to go “60+ Beyond the Hour”. One way that Earth Hour is encouraging people to go beyond the hour is through the “I Will If You Will” challenge. Individuals or organizations create a challenge which if met they are willing to do something in return to benefit the environment. From celebrities to cities challenges big and small have been made.

This year I created an I Will If You Will challenge of my own. My challenge: If the staff of Arrowstreet pledged to participate in Earth Hour 2013 by turning out their lights on March 23 I would reduce my household waste by 30%. The challenge was accepted by the office and I am currently tracking my home waste to make sure that I meet the 30% reduction this month and every month from now on. Reducing waste is important because we need to significantly reduce the amount of trash that goes to landfills and the oceans. I am reducing waste by buying items with less or no packaging and packaging that is completely recyclable, composting food waste to use in my garden, and utilizing reusable items instead of disposable ones. These are all simple actions that everyone can incorporate in their own homes. If you are not sure how to get started there are resources online such as Earth911.com which will help you begin. These actions can also be done in the workplace and we at Arrowstreet are looking at what we can do within the office to reduce our waste.

Learn more about Earth Hour and the I Will If You Will campaign at www.earthhour.org.

Topics: Sustainability