Earth Hour 2008

Sydney Opera House

Almost one year ago, the city of Sydney, Australia, did something unprecedented: thousands of businesses and individuals flipped the off switch — lights, televisions, and more were switched off for sixty minutes.

And for one hour, Sydney’s power consumption was cut by just over 10%, the equivalent of taking 48,000 cars off of the road for one hour.

This year, Earth Hour is going global, with corporations and individuals from all around the world joining in.

The goal of this, of course, is to cause a dramatic decrease in the amount of energy expended and in the amount of pollutants released. That in itself is great, but if you don’t buy into environmentalism, there are other reasons to flip the off switches in your home.

Instead of watching television, break out the board games and bring your family together for a game of Sorry! or Clue. Instead of surfing the Internet, read a novel by candlelight, perhaps rediscovering an old favorite.

By participating, you will be doing A Good Thing; I promise you that.

All of that said, the reason why I’m writing here isn’t so much to encourage you to participate — although, that would be great! No, instead I want to encourage you to encourage Wal-Mart to participate!

Over the past year especially, Wal-Mart has been making much of its environmental policies, with goals as lofty as producing zero waste.

Is Wal-Mart doing everything it can? I won’t pass that judgment here, but I will say that Earth Hour would give Wal-Mart the chance to put its environmental ethics where its wallet is. Can this retail goliath shut down for one hour? With well over 3,000 stores in the United States alone, Wal-Mart would be able to set a national example which would be extremely difficult to ignore.

In the hour they’re shut down (or at the very least running on half [nighttime] lighting on a limited number of registers, but that wouldn’t be nearly as impressive)? It would provide the perfect opportunity to educate those who show up — sharing with them environmental facts as well as simple ways that they too can make a positive impact on the environment.

So if you would, let Wal-Mart know what you think about this! Here’s an example of what you could write to them:

I know that the company wants to “lead the way,” so to speak, concerning our environment going into the future, setting the standard for other companies to follow.

In light of that, I am encouraging Wal-Mart Stores to endorse and participate in Earth Hour 2008 (

In the evening of March 29, 2008, the Earth Hour initiative is calling on businesses, individuals, organizations, and schools to turn it off.

Everything possible — turned off for one hour.

If Wal-Mart were to do this at all of its stores, the impact would be huge. If other companies followed suit, the effect multiplies quickly!

This is a perfect opportunity for Wal-Mart to show that it is willing to do what it can to encourage environmental awareness and stewardship.

Thank you for your time.

Chief Executive Lee Scott of Wal-Mart has said, “As one of the largest companies in the world, with an expanding global presence, environmental problems are our problems.”

By participating in Earth Hour, Wal-Mart will be able to make a huge impact while setting a global example for others to follow.

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