Let’s make Earth Hour, 8:30–9:30 p.m., March 24, a time to acknowledge our collective impact and recommit to stories of love and hope.

Earth pictured from space, facing South America and the Southern Hemisphere.
Credit: Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Earth Hour—Saturday, March 24, 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.—marks its 12th edition this March.

I remember that first gathering in a darkened Church of the Holy Trinity next to the Eaton Centre in downtown Toronto. We lit candles, we read scriptures and other readings, we signed a pledge to take personal actions to mitigate climate change. KAIROS staff contacted the media and we even got a story in the paper along with photos of darkened landmarks.

Earth Hour is a movement that shines a light on climate action. This movement is supported by the World Wildlife Fund. As we passed the 10th anniversary, there were more darkened landmarks, but many of the problems from 2007 are still with us, despite the 2016 Paris Agreement.

So why bother marking Earth Hour 2018?

Yes, it is a symbolic act and as such it is limited. But it reminds us that in working together we create hope. As God’s co-creators we are called not only to create hope, but to remind ourselves that in seeking hope we are making a difference.

We act from a place of love for our planet and all our relations. In the face of overwhelming evidence, we acknowledge our collective negative impact on this planet and recommit to telling stories of love and hope through the living of our everyday lives. Make Earth Hour 2018 a time for celebrating our small steps.

How to mark Earth Hour on March 24, 8:30 p.m.:

  • Consider hosting a Saturday evening service or gathering in candlelight. Look at last year’s ecumenical Earth Hour vigil or choose elements from past Environment or Climate Change services. Highlight the contemplative nature of evening and candlelight.
  • Get together at home or church to share stories and photos of your favourite natural places. It is out of love for these places that we will work to preserve them. You can find some images and stories on the Earth Hour website.
  • Find an environmental film to show from 7:30 to 8:30 and follow with a discussion group in candlelight.
  • Read some stories like this recent blog from Citizens for Public Justice staff Karri Munn-Venn about her time at the 2017 UN Climate Conference.
  • Share a daily practice of love for God’s creation that you might want to foster or strengthen in the months and days to come.

If you mark Earth Hour in some way, tell us about it by e-mailing justice@united-church.ca and adding #UCCan to your social media postings.

—Beth Baskin is program coordinator for Social Analysis and Congregational Engagement with The United Church of Canada

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