Earth Hour is an open source movement organized by the World Wildlife Fund and volunteer organizations worldwide – the mission is to unite people to protect the planet. It was originally started as an hour long, lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007.
Now, Earth Hour is so much more than a singular event. It is a movement engaging more than 172 countries and territories worldwide. By harnessing the power of the crowd, it has achieved massive environmental impact, including legislative changes. Earth Hour 2016 is on March 19, 8:30-9:30 p.m.
For the Coalition the ‘lights-off’ event has an added dimension – that of light pollution awareness. Researchers are continually learning new health and environmental impacts of urban overlighting and inappropriate lighting, not to mention the staggering collective energy waste. At the urging of member Gail Topping we started our efforts to reduce the growing glow around the Ojai Valley in 2008. Since then we have assisted the City of Ojai in updating its exterior standards lighting ordinance, gotten on the docket for the County of Ventura to write an ordinance for the unincorporated area of the Valley, and done countless outreach, mostly with residents.
For 2016 our focus is supporting City businesses becoming ‘dark-sky friendly’ and getting written support from all types of organizations - building our portfolio towards applying for a Dark Sky Community designation from the International Dark Sky Association. In the latest Ojai Quarterly issue, Ojai Valley resident and internationally renowned artist Russell Crotty says, “Ojai’s dark, night skies were a major consideration when deciding to move here”.
So, how about inviting family, friends and neighbors over for one hour, March 19 to revel in our global connection, local camaraderie, and the exquisiteness of the DARK. Then do an audit of your home – are you dark-sky friendly?
Editor’s Note: Do you have a neighbor’s light that keeps you up at night and/or obscures the stars? We have a very friendly brochure we can mail him or her (no name mentioned) or to help you discuss the situation with your neighbor, here are talking points & tips. It might just help them see the ‘light’. Call the Coalition at (805) 669-8445, if we can be of help.