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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 are dimmed or switched off for one hour at exactly 8:30 pm. The event emphasizes the need for change to the energy policies of the world. It wants to encourage people everywhere to make much-needed changes to limit 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 says that even a short, purposeful change raises awareness. People talk about what can and should be done to reduce energy consumption. Even in the terrible economic climate, when most people are focused on job security, meeting financial obligations, and cutting costs, the conversation on greenhouse gases and global warming must continue. Earth Hour's widespread participation clearly shows that people desire strong action on climate change, say the organizers of the event.

Others aren't so optimistic, but don't quite condemn the event. The problem isn't with Earth Hour, which successfully receives media coverage and generates awareness of the problem. Here the organizers and press are correct in saying the event is successful. However, critics say that Earth Hour probably gives participants the false idea that they have made a change. Yet one hour doesn't equal the drastic adjustments everyone must make 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. Every year, the world...
  2. People talk about what...
  3. Others aren't so optimistic, but...
  4. However, critics say that Earth Hour probably gives...
  5. People must opt for public transportation, green...

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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