Earth Hour – Going Beyond the Hour

Every year, the world takes part in a symbolic movement called Earth Hour, an initiative set up on the last Friday of every March, to raise awareness on climate change and nature loss. With more than 190 countries taking part in the movement, it has unified us globally in the pursuit of protecting our planet. From what started as a simple task of switching off the lights for an hour, has now made strides in getting people to participate in several activities to be more sustainable.

On top of that, Earth Hour has ignited a continuous global conversation on protecting nature not only for our planet but for our health, happiness, prosperity, and survival. So, the question is, why not let these practices last beyond the hour?

We know the positive impact Earth Hour leaves on our environment and for the people around us. However, we can make a bigger difference by taking the notion of being sustainable for just an hour and turning them into many more hours. On that note, here are some common practices you can take part in for both Earth Hour and beyond.

Shopping With A Conscience

There are many levels of lifestyle changes you can make and the first step is to start within yourselves. One of them is to shop with a conscience. In other words, you get to be more mindful about what you shop for, questioning if the specific item or brand makes an effort to minimise social or environmental damage to our planet. Buying less means you get to reduce consumption, which in turn helps to improve the situation on wastage and pollution. This way, having a change in our mindsets would bring us a step closer to forming more sustainable lifestyle habits.

Being a conscious shopper starts with a thought which then turns into action and over time, slowly becomes a routine to us. Here are some strategies you could follow.

  • Leftovers

The first thing you should be aware of before shopping is the leftovers you have at home. Be creative with your unused ingredients so that they do not have to go to waste. You could also learn how to turn leftovers into compost by checking out our previous article on composting.

  • Shop When You Have To

Be an informed shopper. Planned shopping will help you eliminate the act of impulse buying, preventing you from purchasing items you do not need in the first place. Second-hand shopping is also a great way to reduce production and the best outcome from both is that you get to save more money.

  • Brew Your Eating Plan With Earth Hour SG

With Earth Hour’s “Brew Your Kosong Plan”, you can utilise it to help make conscious choices when it comes to food. Through this initiative, you could choose to consume lesser meat, opt for more plant-based options or simply purchase more locally grown produce.

  • Bringing Your Own Bag

One of the easiest ways to be a conscious shopper is to bring your own bag for your purchases. This way, you can eliminate the need for single-use plastic carriers.

Incorporating a healthy shopping habit benefits both you and the environment in the long run and it would only get better when the people around you are influenced by your lifestyle decisions. Thrifting encourages shopping with a conscience and it is one trending activity that you and your family or friends can take part in together.

Shutting Off Electricity

Once you have improved on your habits from within, the next best place to implement lifestyle changes is around the house. Just like how Earth Hour began with everyone switching off their lights for an hour, you can go beyond that by switching off other appliances whenever they are not in use at home. When appliances are turned off completely, they are still drawing electricity. This is called standby power where they could be switched on faster. Like unattended chargers, they too draw current even if there are no devices on the other end.

Shutting off electricity can help the environment by reducing carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases. Like many other countries, this is an initiative in Singapore that aims to reach a net-zero emission by 2050, a target set by the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC). It could also help you save your money too. The easiest way to go about this is to switch to energy-efficient appliances that have the NEA ‘Energy’ label stickers to help reduce your energy bills at home. The more ticks there are on the sticker, the more efficient the appliance is when it comes to energy saving. Though it may feel like an exasperating task to keep switching off the main power, they do go a long way in helping preserve our Earth.

Taking Public Transport

During Earth Hour, we are encouraged to skip the car ride and use other means of transportation such as walking, biking, or using public transport. While many would prefer the comfort of their personal transportation, opting for public transport helps to reduce the congestion on the roads. This allows for more fossil fuels to be conserved while cutting down on carbon footprint and air pollution.

Besides being a sustainable choice for the environment, it also has certain benefits for you. Utilising public transport means you get to save money instead of splurging on a personal vehicle. When you choose to board a train or a bus, you may have to walk to the designated stop, ensuring yourself the chance to improve on your health by clocking in a short workout.

According to the Health Promotion Board, it is advisable to clock in 10,000 steps a day, so this could be a little challenge you could set for yourself. Additionally, walking, in particular, has been proven to help relax the mind and improve your mental health.

Volunteering With Environmental Organisations

Last but not least, the final initiative you could incorporate into your lifestyle is volunteering with environmental organisations. There are so many benefits from this simple act alone. You could learn new skills, meet fellow activists who share the same interest as you, and improve your health physically and mentally by participating in the outdoors. There are a couple of programs that are supported by the National Environmental Agency you could choose to participate in.

This is an initiative set out for maintaining public cleanliness. Volunteers that are part of this movement are passionate about keeping their neighbourhoods clean and green.

This initiative is set up to promote sustainable living and resource conservation, raising public awareness on reusing, reducing, and recycling within the community.

Volunteering reaps many benefits, not just for the environment but for us as a community too. While taking part in such initiatives, not only would you be exposed to new information about preserving our Earth, you get to share that knowledge with your friends and family too.

In summary, Earth Hour is a commemorative event that takes place globally, getting everyone to commit a simple act of being more sustainable. However, you could contribute more to the cause by going beyond the hour and making some changes to your lifestyle by incorporating the aforementioned tips.

Let’s do our little part to be valuable team players in ensuring a safe and green planet for everyone!