PLANNED blackouts all over Scotland, from dinner in the dark to a candlelight ceilidh Earth Hour 2015 is set to be the biggest yet writes Lang Banks.
It’s a simple idea. Turning off your lights for one hour to show you care about our amazing planet. But since the very first Earth Hour in 2007, this simple idea has grown into the biggest global symbol of care for the planet, and a call to action on climate change that goes well beyond the hour. This year the lights will go off on Saturday 28th March at 8.30pm, and we’re expecting Earth Hour 2015 to be the biggest yet.
It’s an event I’m immensely proud to be involved in as it brings together millions of people around the world who want to show their love for the planet and their willingness to take action to protect it. Last year Scotland took its place among 162 countries switching off, with iconic landmarks from Edinburgh Castle and the Falkirk Wheel to Glasgow Commonwealth Games venues all going dark. People across Scotland joined Earth Hour activities worldwide- from island states like Tahiti that are already feeling the impacts of climate change, to the corridors of power in Paris where world leaders will take vital decisions at the next UN climate conference in December. Earth Hour mobilises millions of people, and that can’t be ignored by decision makers.
Here in Scotland, thousands of us are planning our Earth Hour activities, from dinner in the dark, to ceilidh by candlelight. For the first time, the iconic Kelpies will be going dark, joining other much loved Scottish landmarks including Edinburgh Castle, Glasgow Cathedral, Linlithgow Palace, Inverness Castle, and Eilean Donan Castle. Glasgow City Centre will play host to a spectacular projection in George Square in the countdown to lights out; while local authorities from the Highlands to Dumfries and Galloway are gearing up to switch off. In fact, there will be Earth Hour activities in every local authority area this year. Meanwhile, public bodies including Visit Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Qualifications Authority have all already signed up.
Churches and places of worship are planning events up and down the country. Last year, local faith groups organised everything from night-time nature walks, stargazing events, poetry and music nights, to special film screenings and even giant shadow-making. And this year we’re hoping to break the record number of schools signing up. Last year saw 986 schools get behind Earth Hour, encouraging pupils and parents to take action and go ‘beyond the hour’ by making changes in their lives and speaking up for the planet.
This year we are delighted to have partnered up with YoungScot, where members can earn YoungScot rewards points for Earth Hour activities, and even win a day at the Scottish Parliament with the WWF Scotland team.
The amazing creativity, enthusiasm and energy of every single person who signs up to switch off for Earth Hour feeds in to the real, tangible change we can achieve together when we go beyond the hour.
Sign up to be part of something big for our amazing planet and switch off for Earth Hour on Saturday 28th March. Have friends over for dinner in the dark. Write a letter by candlelight to your MSPs and tell them you care about the climate. Read to the kids by torchlight. Join a night-time nature walk. Or simply look at the stars and enjoy our brilliant planet.
• To sign up, visit www.wwfscotland.org.uk/earthhour
• Lang Banks, director WWF Scotland