Earth Hour 2015: Ideas and events for what you can do when the lights go out

SINGAPORE - Earth Hour, the annual movement to turn off our lights, falls on Saturday, March 28, this year.

Besides flipping that switch at 8.30pm, there are a number of events to mark the day this year.

Here is what is going on in Singapore, which has been the headquarters for the global initiative since 2012:

1. Experience climate change

You can experience a heatwave, and learn about the effects of a flood and food shortage through the Climate Change Trail created by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Singapore.

There will be a booth that simulates a heatwave with temperatures up to 42 deg C. Another exhibit features intense floods, as a result of rising sea levels and extreme rainfall. Visitors will have mist blown at them to mimic rain.

The trail, located in front of Ion Orchard, is on till March 28, from 5pm to 8pm on weekdays and 2pm to 9pm on weekends.

UPDATE: as a mark of respect to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, WWF-Singapore will be cancelling an Earth Hour event at ION Orchard on Mar 28. In its place, the team at WWF-Singapore will join the global community for the lights off by forming a 60+ Earth Hour logo with LED candles outside ION Orchard at 8.30pm.

2. Cycle under the stars

The first Earth Hour night cycling event will start at Choa Chu Kang and end about 60km away in Woodlands.

The group will celebrate Earth Hour under the Punggol Lonely Tree. The lone tree at Punggol waterway has become an icon and meeting point for cyclists.

More details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/826593320709882/

3. Join the community

There will be games, recycling booths, performances and a countdown to Earth Hour at the West Coast Community Club (CC).

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office S Iswaran will be the guest of honour at the event.

More details here: https://www.facebook.com/westcoastearthhour

Another community event is at the Lot One roof garden. The 7pm event at the Choa Chu Kang mall is organised by the Hong Kah North and Chua Chu Kang CCs.

4. Party with stars

Unlike last year, the cast of Spiderman 2 are not in town. But you can spend the night gazing at the stars instead of baking under florescent lights at the Earth Hour Star Party.

The gathering at East Coast Park is organised by the Marine Parade Astronomical Society. Besides encouraging participants to conserve energy, they aim to promote awareness of light pollution in Singapore.

More details here: http://allevents.in/singapore/60-earth-hour-star-party-2015/596559233822401

5. Glow in the dark

Shangri La is offering a 20 per cent discount to guests wearing neon colours from head-to-toe for its "neo glo" dinner buffet at The Line.

The hotel's BLU Bar will serve glow-in-the-dark cocktails to go with guest's luminous togs.

Leading up to Earth Hour, you can win a staycation and dining vouchers by submitting photos of "neo glo" outfits and creative energy-saving tips to the hotel's social media platforms.

6. Organise your own event

For those who don't like crowds, WWF encourages you to organise your own Earth Hour event. Ideas include screening a movie with a green theme and having a "romantic" dinner by candlelight!

7. Switch it off

There are tips in WWF's Earth Hour action kit for those who want to participate in their own homes.

Besides turning off the lights, you can save energy by sweating a little. WWF suggests using a fan instead of air conditioning, setting the air-con on a timer, or turning up the temperature by 1 deg C.

Another way to save electricity is to turn off switches for appliances like the TV and computer when they are not in use. Standby power can account for up to 10 per cent of a household's electricity use.

8. Spy on a tiger

WWF is also organising a crowdfunding project this year in conjunction with Earth Hour.

It aims to raise US$30,000 (S$41,000) to install satellite-enabled cameras in key tiger habitats.

The project will monitor and protect the last 400 Sumatran tigers in Indonesia and donors can get rare camera footage of tigers from the forest.

Check it out here: https://earthhourblue.crowdonomic.com/projects/view/4158?&slug=Be%20the%...

9. Learn more

The Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) Earthlink is organising a training workshop about Earth Hour for residents in Jurong East. More details here: http://clubs.ntu.edu.sg/earthlink/website/reader.php?t=eh2015

10. Meditate

Metta Meditation is organising a meditation session during Earth Hour, as well as a related talk and exhibition.

More details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/659464667516451/

chuimin@sph.com.sg