During the month of March, Girl Scouts everywhere will engage their families, friends, and community affiliates in making small changes that have big results when it comes to lowering CO2 footprints and saving energy and money. They'll do this by:
- Replacing incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY STAR® qualified, or other energy-efficient, light bulbs
- Uniting with hundreds of millions of people around the world as they turn off the lights for one hour—Earth Hour—8:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m. on the last Saturday in March (March 31, 2012)
On the Register page, they'll log:
- The number of ENERGY STAR® qualified, or other energy-efficient, light bulbs installed during the month
- The number of unregistered people that participated in project with the girls
Brighten up the Earth's future in a few easy steps!
- Learn why you should choose an energy-efficient light bulb. As you prepare to replace incandescent light bulbs with ones that are more efficient with energy, know that "ENERGY STAR® qualified" refers to products that meet strict energy-efficiency guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Lighting products that have earned the ENERGY STAR® deliver exceptional features, while using less energy than non-ENERGY STAR® products.
- Decide which bulb is best for your needs. Choosing between the various types of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) or light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs) and deciding where to use them can be daunting. For guidance on choosing the right bulbs for your fixtures, check out the Choose a Light Guide and find out how to choose CFLs and where to use them. You can also learn more about LED bulbs.
- Save the incandescent light bulbs you switched out for fixtures where CFLs or LEDs aren't suitable (like in a closet where the light would only be on for a few minutes at a time, or for a dimmable fixture if you don't have a dimmable CFL). Energy-efficient bulbs provide the most savings in fixtures that are lit for at least two hours a day.
Earth Hour is a global celebration of the planet that encourages individuals, communities, businesses, and governments to turn off non-essential lights and other electrical appliances for one designated hour each year. This symbolic action raises awareness about environmental issues and encourages sustainable lifestyle habits.
In 2011, Earth Hour was celebrated in 135 countries and territories, across more than 5,000 cities and towns and every continent, with famous landmarks such as the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace, the Sydney Opera House, and the Great Wall of China going dark.
Join this symbolic global effort by turning off the lights from 8:30–9:30 pm on the last Saturday of March (March 31, 2012).
Check out the Official Eath Hour 2012 video. Get more facts and register to participate on the Earth Hour site (in addition to registering with Girl Scouts Forever Green). Got great Earth Hour photos? Check out the Girl Scouts Forever Green Share page for information on how to share them with everyone.
As girls plan an event for this one special hour, and inspire local landmarks to turn off their lights, they can dream up lots of fun things to do in the dark!
- Plan a candlelight dinner for their group.
- Hold a treasure hunt by flashlight.
- Play board games, tell stories, or sing songs.
- Use wind-up flashlights or glow sticks and conduct a ceremony with the local Girl Scout community.
- Line a darkened bridge with lanterns, or ask neighbors to display lanterns by their doorsteps in support of Girl Scouts Forever Green—Earth Hour. Consider creating a virtual Earth Hour lantern.
Think of the impact 20,000, 30,000, or even 40,000 girls in your area might have when everyone is doing the same thing at the same time! Girl Scouts of Colorado got the state capitol to go dark, and girls holding glow sticks formed a giant GS on the steps. Talk about creating visibility! What can you envision? And remember, Girl Scouts can go beyond the hour by making a pledge of ongoing sustainable action for the year ahead.
Put the Flip the Switch! Sticker on light-switch faceplates or beside light switches to remind people to turn off the lights.
Review the ties to the Girl Scouts National Program Portfolio for specific Earth Hour-related Journey activities.
- If 3 million Girl Scouts turned off the light every time they left a room, more than 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide would be saved each year. Just think what we, as a movement, can do!
- If every American home replaced just one light bulb with one that earned the ENERGY STAR®, we would:
- Save enough energy to light 3 million homes for a year
- Save about $600 million in annual energy costs
- Prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to the emissions from about 800,000 cars
- An ENERGY STAR® qualified compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) saves more than $40 in electricity costs over its lifetime, uses about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs, and lasts up to 10 times longer.
- An ENERGY STAR® qualified LED light bulb can last 25,000 hours; that means one installed in a newborn's nursery won't have to be changed until she or he graduates from college!
- LEDs produce far less heat than incandescent bulbs, which can reduce air-conditioning needs.
- ENERGY STAR® qualified televisions of all sizes use about 40 percent less energy than standard units.
- Choose appliances that have earned the ENERGY STAR®, and you can save $85 a year in energy and water costs while conserving precious resources.
- Next time you do laundry, use cold water. Heating hot water accounts for about 90 percent of the energy your machine uses to wash clothes.
- When not in use, unplug electronics and chargers and turn off electrical equipment to save energy; using a power strip makes this easy!
- Your local electric and gas companies can be a great source of support, and may be willing to partner with your group on your project.
- Local science and children's museums may offer great hands-on activities for girls to learn more about energy.
- If you plan on using candles during Earth Hour, keep safety in mind and only use them with adult supervision. Consider using candles made of natural products (such as beeswax or soy) instead of petroleum-based materials. These are gentler to our planet, smoke-free, non-toxic and non-allergenic.