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Earth Hour

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Every year in March, the world goes dark for Earth Hour. At tourist destinations, businesses, and private homes, lights were dimmed or switched off for one hour at precisely 8:30 pm. The purpose is to emphasize the need for radical change to the world's current energy policies, and thereby encourage people everywhere to make much-needed changes to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

It's estimated that more than one billion people in over ninety countries take part in the event. Executive director Andy Ridley said that such a conscious change, even if for one hour, raises awareness and generate discussions on what can and should be done to reduce energy consumption. Even in the dismal economic climate, when most people are focused on job security, meeting financial obligations, and cutting expenses, the conversation on greenhouse gases and global warming must continue. Such widespread participation, say the organizers of the event, clearly indicate that people desire strong action on climate change.

Others aren't so optimistic, and actually stop just short of outright condemnation. The problem isn't in the event itself, which successfully receives media coverage and generates a moderate amount of awareness. Here the organizers and press touting the event as successful are correct. However, critics said that Earth Hour most likely gives participants the false illusion that they have made a change. Yet one hour doesn't equal the drastic adjustments required of everyone every day. People must opt for public transportation, green technology in homes and workplaces, and clean energy sources. In the long run, Earth Hour could actually cause more harm than good.

Preview some of the lesson material:

Warm Up: Do you agree or disagree? Why?

  1. I use too much energy!
  2. People in my country use too much energy!
  3. I am very concerned about global warming and the future.
  4. The environment and changes in climate will be much worse in twenty years.
  5. The planet is becoming warmer, but global warming isn't caused by humans.

Fragments: Remember how the fragments were used, and complete the sentence from today's article.

  1. It's estimated that more than one billion people in...
  2. Such widespread participation, say the organizers of the event, clearly...
  3. Others aren't so optimistic, and actually...
  4. However, critics say that Earth Hour most likely gave...
  5. In the long run, Earth Hour could actually...

post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!

  1. Have you ever participated in Earth Hour? If yes, how so? If no, why not?
  2. How do you protect the environment? Please explain.
  3. What's your opinion on Earth Hour? Is it favorable or negative? Why?
  4. Do you think Earth Hour will have long-term effects on climate change? Why/not?
  5. Because of global warming, what do you think the future will be like? Please explain.

Google Search: Type "Earth Hour" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.

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