Earth Hour is upon us once again and individuals around the globe are gearing up to power down for an hour tonight – part on an annual campaign intended to promote green living.

To mark the occasion, CTVNews.ca has compiled a list of ways to celebrate Earth Hour that go beyond sitting in the dark for 60 minutes.

Stargaze

Earth Hour is a great opportunity not only to stargaze, but to also start thinking about light pollution and how it affects your health.

According to the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, illumination from high-rise buildings and communication towers reduce bird populations and white light attracts insects that carry infectious diseases. Health researchers have also found that artificial light at night disrupts the body's ability to establish normal sleep and wake patterns, which has an impact on our ability to fight infection and disease.

So give your body a break and bask in the dark for an hour.

Get into bed … phone-free

If you think checking your smartphone at the dinner table is offensive, imagine how your partner may sometimes feel.

Nowadays, it's common to constantly keep that device close by your side in the classroom, in the bathroom, and yes, even in the bedroom.

In an effort to get couples to stop scrolling through their smartphones and tablets before bed, Durex has launched its own #TurnOffToTurnOn Earth Hour campaign, which asks couples to ditch their devices and find another way to busy themselves.

Prepare a cold dinner

It takes energy to make a hot meal, and that energy means carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Earth Hour provides an opportunity to experiment with making sushi, or keep it simple with a salad or sandwiches.

According to a report in the Yale Environment Review, food production constitutes 8 to 16 per cent of the total national energy consumption in the U.S., but a conscientious chef can chop that energy use in half.

For example, the simple practice of putting a lid on a pot during cooking can cut energy use by eight-fold. 

Go for a walk

Earth Hour could be a great excuse to get out of the house after an excruciatingly long winter that saw many Canadians hibernate for months on end.


Why not take a walk around your neighbourhood or take part in a candlelight walk organized by a community group.