Each year, millions of people, households and businesses around the world turn off their lights and appliances for one hour during Earth Hour as a symbolic gesture to show the need for stronger climate action.
And just because the lights are off doesn't mean the hour is wasted on darkness. Most people have found quite the opposite, as candles are lit and the mood is set, games are played, conversations are held and romance is in the air.
Since its 2007 inception in Sydney, Earth Hour has grown into a global event, organised by the WWF, with over 180 countries taking part this year to raise awareness for energy consumption and its effects on the environment.
If you don't do it for the environment, then perhaps you could do it for your own (mental) health. Enjoying a candlelit evening can still the mind, and it is a great opportunity to reconnect, turn off the screens and simply talk, play games or even host a meal. That's right, why not make it into a themed night and host a candlelit dinner.
Moreover, there are sleep benefits too. The evening light in our homes and even the blue light from screens suppresses melatonin and delays the timing of our sleep by disrupting our biological clock, so using candles rather than bright lights at night may help you sleep better. “The important thing is that we create a light exposure pattern with sufficient light during the day, and not too much light in the evening,” says Derk-Jan Dijk, a researcher from the University of Surrey.
All good reasons to turn off the lights this Earth Hour and find and appreciate darkness, or at least a less illuminated evening. Stock up on candles and don't be in the dark during Earth Hour. Switch off, light some candles and have fun with it.
This year's Earth Hour event will take place on March 30 from 8:30pm-9:30pm. For more information on how easy it is to get involved, read on.