7 Days, 7 Ways to Use Less for 1 Hour

Ginny Figlar Colón by Ginny Figlar Colón | April 20th, 2009 | 1 Comment
topic: Green Living

istock_000002723814smallMoments before Earth Hour started, I lit candles, switched off the lights and announced my participation by updating my Facebook status to “Ginny is lights out.”

A few hours later (yes, we quite liked the candlelit vibe going on in the house), I saw that one of my Facebook friends declared all Earth Hour participants a “bunch of ridiculous treehuggers.” Hmmph.

True, those 60 minutes may not have made a huge impact on climate change. I actually think it did something even bigger: It showed how easy it is to change your routine for an hour.

What if Earth hour happened every day? You can give up anything for an hour, right?

Here’s what it could look like:

Monday: Hobby night

Turn off the TV and tinker around with a hobby, or read for an hour, instead. You’ll save 200-300 watts depending on the type of TV you have.

Tuesday: “Go” green day

Green your commute today. Carpool, bike or take public transportation to work if you normally drive. Get tips here for a car-free commute.

Wednesday: Veg-fest day

Give up meat for an hour (say, at dinner) or for the whole day. The chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said one meat-free day a week would help tackle climate change.

Thursday: Unplugged evening

Instead of checking email, news, Facebook and blogs when you get home from work, stay unplugged. Take the dog for a walk, go for a run or weed the garden for an hour. (Of course, this makes more of a difference if you’re using a smart power strip or unplugging your computer when not using it. Read more about reducing ghost power usage or  “phantom loads” here.)

Friday – Candlelight night

Lights out from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. just like the original Earth Hour. It’s cozy whether you’re alone or together.

Saturday – Farmers’ market dinner

Hot dinners lose their appeal as the weather gets warmer. So leave the stove and oven off once a week and eat fresh. Try a Mediterranean salad with beans, olives, tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers, pita bread and yogurt. (Yum, I’m looking forward to Saturday already.)

Sunday – Line dry day

Take advantage of sunny Sundays. Instead of running the dryer for an hour, hang your wet laundry outside if the weather’s decent. Otherwise hang it inside; if needed you can throw it in the dryer for a 10-minute fluff once it’s almost dry.

Oh, and be sure to share your daily Earth-hour deeds on Twitter, Facebook, etc. We ridiculous treehuggers need to inspire lots more ridiculous treehuggers.


Related Links

7 Ways to Go a Little Greener for Earth Day

9 Money-Saving Earth Month Projects You Can Do in as Little as 10 Minutes

Follow Gaiam on Twitter

Friend Gaiam on Facebook


  1. Guess I’m a “treehugger” ..and proud of it! My husband and I made it through Earth Hour without e-v-e-r missing the lamps, totally enjoying the candlelight. And as for these simple steps ..what easy actions to take that benefit in so many ways. Bottom line: conserving our resources, being good stewards of the earth, is not a FAD! It is not something fashionable to do. It is mandatory! True enough my single action does not amount to a lot ..but it does amount to “something.” Every something is a help – not a hindrance. The world, for me, consists of where I am. I can change the world by changing the specific place where I’m standing now. This is true for every single one of us on this earth.

    Cindy Helton | May 12th, 2009 | Comment Permalink

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