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Earth Hour: 8:30 PM
March 19th, 2016

Earth Hour had its beginning in Sydney, Australia in 2007.  Since then it has quickly become a global environmental movement uniting people from all nations in an urgent call for action on climate change.  This year hundreds of millions of people around the world will turn 'lights out' for one hour to show their commitment to  helping something we all have in common- the planet.

For young people, Earth Hour can be an experiential reminder that important environmental issues don't have to overwhelm us and that there are small things we can do every day to make a difference.  The days leading up to March 19th are an excellent time for students and teachers to explore climate change in the classroom and bring meaning to participation in Earth Hour.

Why Participate in Earth Hour?

Climate change is altering the planet. Severe environmental, economic and social consequences are becoming more and more evident as global temperatures increase.

  • Rising temperatures due to global warming threaten to increase flooding and droughts putting millions of homes at risk and endangering as many as 30 percent of animal species according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  • Globally the five hottest years on record have all occurred since 1997 (nature.org)
  • Currently there are more than 100 million people living within three feet of sea level
  • Two-thirds of the world's polar bears could be lost within 50 years as a result of retreating sea ice, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
  • The IPCC estimates 3 billion or more people will be at risk of water shortage due to climate change in the decades ahead.
  • Total GHG emissions in Canada grew 17 per cent between 2009 and 2010. Per capita, Canada joins Australia and the United States as the top 3 carbon emitters. (Conference Board of Canada).
  • Research conducted by the NRDC shows that if present trends continue, the total cost of global warming over the next century will be measured in the trillions of dollars.

Climate change will increasingly affect human health, species distribution and the ability of the planet to provide.   How we deal with climate change is a crucial discussion that teachers and students should be actively engaged in.

Resources 4 Rethinking encourages students and teachers to participate in Earth Hour 2016. Top R4R Picks will connect you to some excellent resources to support these efforts.

For more information and activities be sure to check out the Earth Hour Canada and Earth Hour Global websites.