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Earth Hour 2017: A Global Movement for Environmental Awareness

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Santa Cruz Cruise Night View

Earth Hour, an event dedicated to appreciating the absence of artificial light, makes enjoying a clear night sky devoid of lights an uncommon experience. Some people view the lack of light as a great pleasure. Electricity has made our lives easier in more ways than we can count. Imagine living without streetlamps, computers, televisions, refrigerators, or even a little lightbulb in your kitchen, bathroom, or office. Energy has set us free but also imprisoned us beneath an artificially lit night sky. Urban areas now have so much light that night skies are no longer visible, and people often forget that the stars are there.

The existence of Earth Hour can be partially attributed to this unsettling tendency.

The International Energy Agency estimates that 16% of people on the planet do not have access to electricity. That translates to 1.2 billion individuals deprived of regular access to some of the benefits of modernity. We take this advantage for granted in various parts of the world. We don’t need to utilize as much energy as usual when we think about it. Plus, there are some charming benefits to shutting off the lights.

Earth view at night
NASA image acquired April 18 – October 23, 2012

Earth Hour: Where We Stand

The organization of Earth Hour is the responsibility of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The inaugural Sydney, Australia event occurred in 2007 when over 2,000 companies and 2.2 million people agreed to turn out their lights for an hour. This was done to demonstrate how concerned people were about the environment and the state of the planet and to demand action on climate change. In 2017, almost 135 nations came together to support the cause, which will occur this year on Saturday, March 25, from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Earth Hour was established to help us recognize how our consumption patterns harm the environment and serve as a reminder to take a break from our ordinarily fast-paced and chaotic lifestyle. This year’s campaign hashtag is #ChangeClimateChange, which was createdevent globally.

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The Darkness is Our Ally

On its eleventh anniversary, Earth Hour’s goal is to lessen not only the amount of energy we use but also the amount of light pollution that occurs in urban areas.

Artificial light has been shown to significantly affect sleep cycles and other natural cycles that occur in all ecosystems. Artificial light floods the night skies of 80% of the world’s population. This percentage soars to 99% in North America and Europe, where people can hardly view the Milky Way Galaxy at night. It is hard to view the stars in places like Singapore.

Conversely, African nations like Madasgcar and Chad have flawless night skies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video by:  Sriram Murali

Part of the purpose of Earth Day is to remind people of how urgently light pollution needs to be addressed. While we can quickly cure it by turning down the lights, its effects, including the extinction of biodiversity and civilization, are more difficult to reverse.

Our disagreements over the stars in 2007 in Spain sparked the creation of the Declaration in Defense of the Night Sky, which declared that the night sky is “humanity’s inalienable right.” After all, innumerable civilizations have advanced because of the night skies and the stars that inhabit them.

Furthermore, it is crucial for humans and every other species that depends on the night sky. The night sky has a primal and profoundly ingrained relationship with many living things, from insects that are extremely sensitive to light to birds who use the stars as their natural compass for the mating cycle of certain species. Light pollution from handheld gadgets even affects our circadian cycle; the effects of this light pollution have been shown to disrupt our hormonal and biological clocks.

When we contemplate all of this, it becomes simpler to stand back and recognize the significance of turning out the lights. We are compelled to put down our electronics during Earth Hour and attempt to see and feel the world around us using our senses rather than our minds. We quickly see how simple it is to live without our phones and our constant desire for distraction and connection. We may even become aware of our dependence on technology.

Turning everything off enables human connection through conversation and eye contact, the age-old method.


How About an Earth YEAR? 365 Days of Practically Zero Light Pollution in the Galapagos!

Cake celebrating Earth Hour aboard Santa Cruz II.
Our crew aboard Santa Cruz Cruise created a celebratory cake in honor of Earth Hour

Earth Hour is a regular occurrence here in the Galapagos Islands, despite the fact that the rest of the globe will only be sparing the lights for one hour. You can enjoy the starry night sky while traveling on the Santa Cruz II trip, far from the few cities on the islands. We encourage you to participate in our evening stargazing events if the weather permits. Remember that the Galapagos lies at the equator so that we can simultaneously view the constellations of the northern and southern hemispheres.

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Our customized Stellarium program allows our guides to identify the most fascinating celestial objects. Before we go stargazing, we will have a briefing inside a dimly lit room to help us keep our eyes wide open and see the night sky more clearly. Our guides will divide the party into smaller groups on the deck and use green laser lights to help them identify astronomical objects throughout the vast and beautiful Galapagos nights.

Check out our Galapagos Tours to experience the real meaning of this privilege—a starry night spent far from the bustle of the outside world!

Updated:June 6, 2024

Published:March 24, 2017

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