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By Matt Geary.

On March 25, from 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM (in whatever time zone you’re in), Earth Hour will be upon us again. Earth Hour makes me happy and sad, all at the same time.

The good thing about Earth Hour is that it raises awareness for climate change across the globe. Entire cities blacking out worldwide is pretty cool, and I’ll be the first to admit spending an hour at home playing cards instead of being glued to the computer is actually quite wholesome. It also saves heaps of energy. Bonus.

The sad part is the reason we have Earth Hour in the first place. Electricity is an integral part of our lives, and electricity is mostly generated by fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. This makes almost every modern society today dependant on power sources that are trashing the planet.

To get an idea for just how much energy we consume, all you have to do is look at how much electricity is saved during Earth Hour each year. In 2013, Ausgrid, an Australian energy retailer, reported a 1.5 percent reduction in energy use during Earth Hour. This equated to a drop of more than one ton of greenhouse emissions. From one retailer in Australia only. In one hour.

That being said, recording how much power is saved isn’t what Earth Hour is really about. It’s about getting together and inspiring each other to take action and care about our planet. Whole cities powering down for an hour is hard to ignore, whether you support climate change or not.

Most people who deny climate science have simply been tricked. They’ve been told that they need fossil fuel for jobs, energy, and their livelihoods. They’ve also been told clean energy is a hoax, not effective, or simply doesn’t work.

It can be hard to convince someone who is rock solid in their beliefs to change their mind. The key thing to remember is that you probably can’t change their mind. They must do it themselves. Don’t argue with climate deniers, lead by example instead. Get involved in events like Earth Hour and make a positive change in the world.

With some support from governments and us (the people), clean energy is the future. We’re already making progress. Dutch railway companies recently switched their electric trains to 100% wind power, an Australian university has figured out a way to go 100% renewable, and China (the world’s 2nd biggest economy) has invested $361 billion into renewable energy.

In an ideal world, societies and cities would be powered by renewable energy and we wouldn’t need to have an Earth Hour event. Luckily this ideal world may become a reality sooner than later.

Though the quicker we can get to that reality, the less damage we’ll do in the meantime. If you’re serious about climate change, let your community and your government know. Find a good climate charity to get behind, write letters to your local representatives, or even take part in peaceful protests. If you’re in New Zealand and want to attend an event against dirty energy, check out the People’s Climate Rally in Taranaki.

And of course, turn your lights off for Earth Hour on March 25!

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