Earth Hour, the world’s largest demonstration of support for action on climate change, is celebrated every year on the last Saturday of March. This year it was on 25th March and was celebrated across 178 countries.

Earth Hour is about raising awareness on the need to save energy. Across the globe, key landmarks go dark during Earth hour. While many join the pomp and show of big public events to celebrate the Earth Hour, there is this young environmentalist Arushi Madan who celebrates Earth Hour in her own style.

Arushi, popularly known as ‘Green Machine’ for her passion and efforts towards environment conservation, gave her creative twist to Earth Hour celebration. Apart from donating her social power (donating social feed) like many others, she organised an Earth Hour awareness session in her community to spread awareness about the actual meaning and message behind this symbolic ‘Earth Hour’. She even played an interesting environmental game with them. Game which is on the lines of popular Indian ‘Antakshari’ but with her twist to make it specific to the occasion. Game started with first person saying a word related to environment like Earth which ends with letter ’h’ and the next person had to say a word starting with the ending letter of previous person’s word (e.g. h in case of Earth) and it goes on. A became the starting letter for next person. As explained by Arushi, game seems a nice way to talk and learn about environment and terms related to environment. Her session ended with an eco-pledge by all to save energy and save Earth every hour and beyond Earth Hour.

Arushi didn’t stop here, she went ahead and in candle light, wrote a poem dedicated to Earth. She says, “By participating in Earth Hour, one way or the other, I am showing my solidarity and supporting Earth. Earth Hour is just symbolic but we should go beyond Earth Hour and adopt such practices in our daily lives which contribute significantly to reducing energy and water wastage to secure a sustainable environment and protect natural resources for the coming generations. Every hour should be treated as Earth Hour and wastage should be minimized. Let us join hands and go beyond the hour…our Earth deserves more than just 60 minutes a year.

Going green doesn’t have to be a daunting task, we don’t need to bring drastic changes to our life style. Whatever we do impacts environment. So before taking any action, please ask yourself 3 questions. Is it necessary? What will be its impact on environment? And Is there any eco friendlier alternative? Simple & small things can make a difference. They may be small at individual level but if all of us follow them, they collectively have a bigger & positive impact on the environment. After all my carbon foot print adds to yours, yours adds to mine and ours adds up to the global carbon footprint. Let’s increase our handprint to reduce our footprint. Remember, the earth can live without humans but humans cannot live without earth, we have only one planet, there is no plan(et) B.”

Building on the core theme of Earth Hour, turning off the lights for an hour to save energy, she suggests various ways to celebrate and contribute to Earth Hour like having candle light dinner with family, going for walk under stars, playing interesting games with ‘lights out’, being part of large public celebration by DEWA, EPAA etc or hosting your own Earth hour event for your friends or community.

Arushi’s message to youngsters

Shed away hesitations and don’t wait for others to initiate. Have a “Let me” approach rather than “Why me”. Apart from academics, involve yourself in social and voluntary activities to improve the lives of others, to give back to society and to make this world a better place. Be the change you wish to see in the world. For e.g. if you find a place dirty, please don’t say “the place is dirty”. Rather, clean it and say “It was dirty”. Do it and set examples for others. Youth has immense potential to bring about a revolutionizing change, let’s use “Youth Power” and bring a positive change to the environment and to the world. Let’s leave our mark (not our footprint).

Arushi has been working for the cause of environment for more than 6 years and her efforts have won her many awards like International Young Eco Hero award, International Diana Award, Green Star UAE -to name a few. She is clearly an inspirational youth and a role model.

Recycle not this hour, Recycle every hour