By SARAH E. WARD
On Saturday March 23, 2013 more than 1 billion people in 7,001 cities and 152 countries and territories participated in the annual Earth Hour including IU South Bend. The IUSB Sustainability and Wellness Club sponsored the local campus observance of Earth Hour which is a cause supporting climate change action.
The hour to turn off or dim the lights was from 8:30-9:30pm and IUSB’s facilities management darkened the atriums of the Student Activities Center and the Franklin D. Schurz Library. Both facilities agreed to keep them dim for the entire weekend. Student Housing is also participating by shutting off public lighting in and around the buildings for the hour.
Former student and IUSB alumnus Myles Robertson helped to get participation from local businesses like the State Theatre, who will be turning off their marque to raise awareness downtown. Robertson is a big supporter of the Earth Hour movement and other sustainability causes.
“Earth Hour has become more than a symbolic act. What it challenges us to do for an hour is really to plant a seed, over time that seed germinates and we become a tree, together we become a forest of change,” Robertson said in a press release.
The first Earth Hour was on March 31, 2007 in Sydney, Australia with 2.2 million Sydney residents and 2,100 businesses participating. By 2012 Earth Hour had broken records as the largest voluntary action for the environment.
Earth Hour has become such a global movement that the Eiffel Tower, the Great Pyramids of Giza, and the Empire State Building all participate.
Earth Hour has started an “I will if you will” campaign which currently has 4 million participants. The participants challenge themselves to do things like not eat meat for a week if 1,000 people eat a vegetarian meal once a week for a year. To start your own “I will if you will” challenge visit www.earthhour.org.