Turn Off the LightsMarch 17, 2015

Sydneysiders can imagine what Port Jackson looks like without the light. During the last Saturday of this month, for the past eleven years, Sydney is almost dark for an hour. Only the illumination around the Opera House is visible to the human eye. Welcome to Earth Hour!

This campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the precarious state of our planet, is a trendsetter. Many major cities of the world also turn off its light, which should make us proud. But there's more to do. If we're really serious about it, a blackout isn't enough. If it's possible to keep a distance from your computer, then how about your mobile phone. So what must we do during the darkest hour? Not school papers, not even a possible holiday during winter.

Here are some suggestions:

Planting. If we want to play an active role in environmental awareness, then let us be responsible. How about planting a seed in your backyard? The image of a fragile stem and a tiny leaf, sprouting from the soil, can be exciting. But we must keep the ground moist enough. Make sure there isn't too much sunlight. In case of bad weather (if you live in the northern region), then transfer the pot where it will be protected from the elements. This will take some time, which tests your commitment. No excuses about it.

Trekking. It's not about a white coastline, with the sea to beckon. It's not about surfing either. Let's go further, away from the seashore. Think of green and a path somewhere. The only things you can hear are the rustling of the leaves, the wind (if it's strong enough), and the sound of an animal. Depending on the time of the day, it can mean many things. (It won't be a signal that it's past dusk, which is the case for nocturnal creatures.) No need to think too hard on this. Enjoy the scenery. Be appreciative that such place still exist. Make sure you'll only leave footprints.

Veg out. How does a lazy, inattentive approach be useful in such a cause? One hour of darkness makes us virtually ineffective. And there's no place to kill the time than the couch (or the bed). We are used to the lights being turned on. How often do you hold your mobile phone? The computer is the next one. Can you make it past the hour? Nothing wrong if you can't bear the thought, which is why many things come to mind. Make sure you turn off the lights. Check on those appliances. (The telly has its limit.) How about the litter. (It pays to be clean.) It goes on and on, but you get the picture.

Once Earth Hour is over, then it's time to look over the suggestions. This is serious matter.

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