For those who don’t know what it is, Earth Hour is an annual movement where people turn off their (non-essential) lights for one hour, from 8:30-9:30pm local time. It started as an Aussie idea in 2007 and has since grown into a global phenomenon with 50-100 million people participating worldwide. The aim is to draw attention to our need to tackle global warming and start a conversation about what we can do to help.
This year, it will be held on 25 March and the theme is “Join the Future”. It focuses on how our actions today will impact the planet for our kids, and our kids’ kids, and our kids’ kids’ kids.
If you’re already dreading the thought of entertaining your children sans technology, we thought of a list of activities you can do during your hour without power. Because if you’re going to save the world, you might as well have fun doing so!
- Have a shadow puppet show
All you need is a big torch, a thin cloth and some pre-made puppets (or mad skills in shaping your fingers into animals). When the power goes off, turn on your torch behind the cloth and get the whole family involved in putting on a shadow puppet theatre production. Perform your favourite fairy tales or nursery rhymes, or debut an original shadow puppet story!
- Tell stories around a campfire
There’s something dreamy about sitting around a campfire, roasting marshmallows, sipping hot chocolate and swapping stories – kids feel it too. If a fire isn’t possible, huddle around a big torch or lantern and heat up the marshmallows using a candle. You’ll probably find the magic is found in hearing and telling stories with no distractions.
- Study the stars and constellations
You don’t have to be an expert in astronomy to simply lie back and appreciate the beauty in our skies. Prepare by researching a couple of constellations or mythology regarding the stars that you can tell your kids as you gaze above. Encourage your children to find their own constellations or make up their own myths, and snack on space-themed treats like “Martian milk” or moon pie.
- Spend the hour (or night) playing board games
Our favourites include: Trouble, Guess Who?, Cluedo and Connect Four.
- Go to Earth Hour events near you
For Sydney-siders, our favourite event is Earth Hour ‘Caring for the Future’, where Aboriginal elders will be sharing stories from the Dreamtime. To find registered events near you, visit earthhour.org.au/events
Whatever you decide to do, don’t forget to explain to your children the reason why you’re turning the power off; to support a low pollution and clean energy future for their sake and the sake of others.
Image by: Jeremiah Armstrong, WWF