Ask Eartha: In the darkness, our finest hour |

Ask Eartha: In the darkness, our finest hour

Dear Eartha,

I have noticed all of these posters up around town that say “Earth Hour” on them. What is this and how could I possibly make an impact in just one hour?

– Lucy, Frisco

Lights off Summit County! This Saturday, from 8:30-9:30 p.m., people around the world are going to tip their hats to energy conservation by turning off the lights. So light a candle and turn off the TV, this hour of darkness is a symbol of what we can accomplish when we all work together to make a strong statement about energy use and climate change.

Earth Hour began in Sydney, six years ago, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. By 2010, the message had grown into a global sustainability movement. This year, global landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge, the Empire State Building, the Sydney Opera House, the Great Pyramids of Giza and most notably, our very own Summit County Courthouse will all stand in darkness!

What’s more, Summit County Commissioners made their own statement by adopting a resolution designating Earth Hour to remind our community members that, by working together, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions with energy conservation and efficiency to thereby reduce our community’s carbon footprint.

When the lights go off, the light bulb above your head should go on. Earth Hour is an important reminder that individuals and companies alike need to pay close attention to how our energy use impacts greenhouse gas emissions. The Earth Hour campaign creates awareness and political movement for enacting national climate legislation and a global climate treaty.

Also, consider the economics. By turning off non-essential lighting, you can save money in utility costs. If you stash enough cash, you might finally be able to afford that ultra-energy retrofit to make your house even more cozy and efficient. It’s a win-win!

While one person committed to reducing energy consumption can make a difference, millions of us working together can change the world. Here are a few easy and awesome ways you can participate in Earth Hour:

>Turn off non-essential lights and appliances for one hour (and ask friends and neighbors to do the same).

> Organize a rousing game of ghosts in the graveyard.

> Head outside for a bit of star-gazing shenanigans.

> Host a potluck party or picnic by candlelight.

> Ask your favorite restaurant or business in Summit County to participate or show participating businesses your appreciation with your patronage.

On Saturday, join the pre-party at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area for an Earth Hour celebration. From 12-4 p.m., Patrick Paden, the Summit Earth Hour organizer, will be in the base area handing out great raffle prizes like lift tickets and other fun ski swag. The High Country Conservation Center energy team and the folks from Innovative Energy will also be there to answer your renewable energy questions.

Thank you, for joining the High Country Conservation Center, our County Commissioners, and community and business members alike in making a statement this Earth Hour. For more information on Earth Hour, please visit

Ask Eartha Steward is written by the staff at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to Eartha at

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