03.27.12Alan Harris

That’s the Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia…

Earth HourEarth Hour is March 31 - What will YOU do?

…and California and Canada and Brazil and France and England and in…

March 31st
8:30 PM (your time zone)

If you have not heard about Earth Hour don’t feel bad. It turns 5 this year and how many 5 year olds do you know?  Of course, last year Earth Hour did reach 1.8 billion people in 135 countries and every continent so maybe it is time to get on board.

What is Earth Hour?
Earth Hour is a global environmental initiative in partnership with WWF (World Wildlife Federation – you know the one with the panda for a logo), Leo Burnett (an advertising and marketing guy from Down Under) and Fairfax Media. Individuals, businesses, governments and communities are invited to turn out their lights for 1 hour on Saturday March 31, 2012 at 8:30 PM to show support for environmentally sustainable action. Just don’t light a candle instead since they are petroleum based. Maybe try a little star gazing instead with your family or significant other.

What does Earth Hour have to do with Water?
Great question! Energy and Water are connected at the hip…if they had hips. It takes a lot of water to make electricityand it takes a lot of electricity to treat water and move it to your home or business. So during Earth Hour also avoid taking a shower or a bath or washing dishes or doing laundry or irrigating the landscape or anything to do with using water.

Who REALLY does Earth Hour?
Some of the world’s most famous manmade marvels and natural wonders are taking part, including China’s Forbidden City, the Eiffel Tower, the Great Pyramids of Egypt, Buckingham Palace, Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer statue, Niagara Falls, the Empire State Building, the Sydney Opera House and many more global icons will be turning off essential lights for that hour in a powerful gesture of solidarity on behalf of the earth.

Then there are you, me and companies like CBRE who is aiming for turning out the non-essential lights for 500 Million Square Feet of office space!

But if it only lasts an hour…?
Another excellent question! This year Earth Hour introduced concept which invites individuals and organizations to challenge others to an ongoing environmental commitment beyond the hour. For example, if CBRE hits their goal of having 500,000,000 square feet of CBRE-managed property participate in Earth Hour then their Global Director of Sustainability, Dave Pogue will install solar panels on his personal residence.

How can I get involved?
Glad you are interested and asked! In addition to turning off the lights you can:

  1. Like and invite your friends to like the Earth Hour page on Facebook
  2. Post on your Facebook what you are going to do for Earth Hour
  3. Join the Earth Hour Group on LinkedIn
  4. Follow Earth Hour on Twitter
  5. Tweet your support for Earth Hour

My I Will If You Will Challenge
If you will help get 25 comments on this post about how you will commit to Earth Hour, I will install a Bio Swale/ Rain Garden in my back yard as my next project, write about the experience and share pictures on Facebook and Pinterest.

Tweeps Mentioned in this Post
If you are on Twitter and want up to the minute information on Earth Hour and other sustainable initiatives please follow:

  • @CBREgreen
  • @WWF
  • @EarthHour
  • @LeoBurnett 

If you liked this post about Earth Hour, please share it with a friend, leave a comment, check out my previous posts, follow me on Twitter @h2oMatters and

Follow Me on Pinterest

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Alan Harris

Alan Harris is a water management pioneer. With roots in landscape architecture, Alan has worked with irrigation throughout his career experimenting with hydrozones and a variety of high efficiency irrigation systems. Now, over thirty years in the landscape industry, Alan continues to stay apprised of the latest technology even in a sales leadership capacity as our Director of Sales Operations for our landscape maintenance division. In addition to his contributions to this blog, Alan keeps his hand in water management as a regular contributor to Lawn & Landscape Magazine and speaker at WaterSmart Innovations Conference.


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  1. Tuesday, 12:59 Martha Golea

    Wow, I can’t believe nobody else has jumped on the comment train yet! I’ve always thought Earth Hour was kind of silly, but your post changed my mind, Alan. How incredible would it be to be at one of those cultural landmarks when all the lights go out?
    In support of Earth Hour (and Earth in general) I’m going to commit to running outside rather than on the treadmill to save the hours of electricity from the treadmill/lights/fan/radio that I spend each week. Thanks for the challenge, I look forward to seeing your bio swale documentation when you reach 25 comments!

  2. Tuesday, 2:42 Alan Harris

    Thanks Martha! 1 down 24 more to go.

  3. Tuesday, 5:56 Tl Bullard

    I am very excited to see pictures of you slaving over a bio swale
    I assume more decadent bath photos to follow as well

  4. Tuesday, 5:57 Richard Restuccia

    Alan, I think this is an inspiring post. One of your best ever. I didn’t really get Earth Hour until I read this post. I will be participating on Saturday and I am looking forward to your post about your bio swale/rain garden.

  5. Tuesday, 6:05 Alan Harris

    Thanks TL and Richard for your comments. 3 down and 22 to go!
    TL – to see decadent bath photos you will have to follow me on Pinterest. This is a family oriented blog and we don’t want to scare the children.

    Richard – glad you are going to join us on Saturday. In previous years I have only heard a whispering of Earth Hour, but it has quite the international following.

  6. Wednesday, 8:04 Lorraine DiBacco

    Earth Hour is a good way to take care of our remarkable planet! Leo Burnett is a legend and one of my favorite quotes “When you reach for the stars you may not quite get one but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either.”

  7. Wednesday, 10:00 Alan Harris

    Lorraine – you are the first person who knows who Leo Burnett is, but when I first stared researching Earth Hour it did not take me long to figure out what an icon he is in the advertising world. Here is an interesting tidbit…Earth Hour was first known as “The Big Flick”.
    Loved the cool quote…thanks for sharing as well as your comment…4 down 21 to go!

  8. Wednesday, 8:03 Randy Thomas

    Very informative post. I’m in. Regarding the one hour limit…that is probably just the proper length. We all know what happens nine months after a prolonged power outage…

  9. Thursday, 6:56 Alan Harris

    Randy – thanks for the comment…5 down and only 20 to go to reach the #IWIYW challenge.
    You bring up a true and profound point…historically ~40 weeks after extended blackouts there is a spike in birth rates. If any of your friends or coworkers have a baby this Christmas, just give them a knowing wink and a smile because you know how they observed Earth Hour 2012.

  10. Thursday, 11:48 Karen Kennedy

    Thanks for bringing information about this effort to us! For my family, our goal will be 1 hour per month and see how we use the time without access to electronics 🙂

  11. Thursday, 7:49 Alan Harris

    Karen – thanks for your comment here and sharing the post on LinkedIn. 6 comments down…19 more to reach the goal.
    An hour a month without any electronics for the entire family is a lofty goal in today’s world. No texting, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Words with Friends for an hour…at the same time…I am not sure my family would be able to meet that challenge. Last weekend we were having dinner at the same time a band was playing. It was so loud we ended up texting each other in order to communicate. It was strange, but then we looked around and there were other tables doing the same thing!

  12. Thursday, 7:53 Dave Ferguson

    A high percentage of Gwinnett County Public schools are set to be dark as the last custodian leaves and energizes the alarm, So about 5 M sq. feet in Gwinnett County School Buildings

  13. Friday, 4:34 Alan Harris

    Dan – thanks for your comment…7 down and only 18 more to reach the #IWIYW challenge.
    Nice to see 5,000,000 SF in Gwinnett County are on board w/ Earth Hour

  14. Friday, 4:51 Linda Forde

    We’ll be turning our lights out and using Star Walk app to identify the sky-bound entertainment for the hour. Venus and Jupiter should be offering up some good viewing at that time. We’ve also tweeted out some shares on Earth Hour. Looking forward to seeing some pics of your bioswale/rain garden!!! – NUVIS

  15. Friday, 5:14 Alan Harris

    Linda/Nuvis – thanks for the comment and support…8 down and only 17 more to reach the #IWIYW challenge
    I have an arbor swing in my backyard and weather permitting I too will be star gazing with the aid of some of California’s fine fermented grapes.

  16. Friday, 5:34 Dennis Kaiser

    Inspiring post Alan. Keep up the great work spreading the word. Educating and informing is a powerful force for the sustainability effort.

  17. Friday, 6:55 Lauren Hanson

    What a great excuse to light the candles and catch up on the week with the husband. Great idea Alan! It’s amazing to think of how integral electricity is in our everyday activities. Taking it away sure does help remind us of the importance of the simpler things in life!

  18. Saturday, 6:05 Alan Harris

    Dennis and Lauren – thanks for your kind words, compliments, commitment and comments…9 and 10 down only 15 to go!

  19. Saturday, 7:18 Richard Restuccia

    I remember last summer in San Diego when the power went out for about 10 hours. We enjoyed an evening of conversation under the stars with our neighbors. It was like going back in time. I am looking forward to tonight.

  20. Saturday, 8:34 Eric Romero

    Ok, I’m in! Lights out!

  21. Saturday, 2:48 Alan Harris

    Richard and Eric – thanks for your comments. ..I guess since I did not specify anything about who had to comment or repetitive comments I will have to count Richard’s 2nd comment as well as all of my replies in which case the official count now stands at 21 with only 4 mor needed to meet the challenge.

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