This is my 4th year taking part in the Earth Hour, a global event aimed at raising awareness about sustainability issues.  This year, I have decided to write a daily post during the month leading to the event in order to share some thoughts about the environment and give tips the little changes we can make in our daily lives.  There will also be some guest posts by fellow bloggers who will share their own views on a topic related to the environment.  You can read my introductory post here and access the Earth Hour website here.

I encourage you to comment and share your own tips, ideas and experience.  In the last couple of days before the event I will do a few posts about what readers had to say.  I believe we can learn a lot by sharing!

As the Earth Hour’s symbolic gesture is to turn off the lights for an hour, I thought this would be my first practical tip.  Turn off the light when you don’t need it!

Does this seem a bit too obvious for you?  It is really, yet how many people actually do it?  How many people leave their outside light on all night?  How many people get back home in the evening and turn on all the lights in the house?

I know too well, I used to be like that.  I used to get home and leave the lights on in corridors until I would go to bed, or in the kitchen while something would be cooking in the oven (I doubt the pizza tasted any better because the lights were on).  My boyfriend at the time would remonstrate me, but I used to ignore his remarks thinking that it would not make a difference.

But it does!  Imagine if we all kept only the light in the room we are in turned on.  We can already see the savings made during one hour with the Earth Hour, so the difference could be huge if we were to do that every day.  Then, maybe offices and shops would follow the movement and turn off their lights when they are closed.  Hotels and other such places might use timers rather than having lights on all the time.  We, as individuals, can make those small changes.  They are not insignificant; they add up and might have a much bigger impact than we expect.

By taking part in the Eath Hour in 2008, I realised that.  It was a bit of an effort at first and a conscious gesture.  I would often forget to turn off the light and had to go back to do so, but it soon became a habit and now I don’t even think about it.  Most of the time it is just laziness when people don’t turn off the light, but honestly how difficult is it to lift up your hand and press the switch?

And why not replace your bulbs with the eco-bulbs as well?  They are now much more affordable than they used to be and they have also improved the light coming from them, which used to be an issue for me as I found it very difficult to read with them.  They do last longer, utilise a lot less energy and are recyclable.

I have already done these changes and thought about what other changes I could make.  Then, I noticed that in my study there are two lights controlled by only one switch (badly conceived!) and I really use only one of these.  I have just taken off the bulb of the second one – it is useless and just a waste of energy – and got a little lamp instead for when I need light in that part of the room.

Any other ideas of what other “lights” changes I could make?