On Saturday, March 31, people across the world will switch off their lights for an hour from 20h30 to mark Earth Hour 2012. This bold statement is intended to unite people in one common cause: to save our planet. Maropeng, with its strict environmental policy, is in full support of this initiative and what it represents, and will be turning off all the lights at the Maropeng Boutique Hotel for Earth Hour this year.

Earth Hour 2012 Is In Your Hands 1
Earth Hour is in our hands

Our planet is under threat. The time is now to acknowledge the seriousness of continuing to carelessly consume the planet’s resources and pollute the atmosphere, if we want our children to enjoy a safe, lush and healthy Earth in years to come.

Our commitment to such an ideal needs to extend beyond simply extinguishing power on the night of the 31st. We need to make continued efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, protect our natural resources, and actively seek out new ways to accomplish this.

Maropeng has a number of initiatives in place to help reduce its carbon footprint, including its own wetlands system, a water conservation strategy and an extensive waste management system. Being a custodian and representative of the Cradle of Humankind is much responsibility, and Maropeng acknowledges the meaningfulness of this position, as well as its role as educator when it comes to engaging with visitors and spreading environmental awareness; it was awarded a gold certificate of membership by the Heritage Environmental Management Company for its commitment to sustainable practices.

Earth Hour 2012 Yellow Flower
Image courtesy of 2Summers2010

In keeping with this sentiment, and as a tribute to the ethos underlying Earth Hour 2012, we have compiled three innovative ways for you to play your part and help green the planet:

1) Pledge your commitment

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is running a special campaign for Earth Hour 2012, entitled, I Will If You Will, and designed to encourage people to “go beyond the hour” and participate in a series of eco-challenges. Click here for more information, and pledge your support!

2) Begin a family project

Get crafty! Rope in your family, and set yourselves goals and challenges. Get your kids to decorate recycling boxes for paper, tin, plastic and glass waste materials, as well as special signs to stick next to light switches around your home, encouraging people to turn off the lights when leaving a room. Earth Hour need not be confined to a single day each year. Why not switch off the lights (and television) for a day, once a month, and make an occasion out of it… board games, ghost stories, charades and popcorn by candlelight could become an enjoyable family tradition you all look forward to! Enjoy a fun family outing to Maropeng, to learn more about the planet and why it’s important to respect and conserve it. There is a host of valuable information on display at the Maropeng exhibition, which is a great foundation to lay when teaching your children about being environmentally responsible.

Pretty Cradle   Earth Hour 2012
Image courtesy of flowcomm (Image: Maropeng)

3) Don’t underestimate the small stuff

No matter how small, any effort is a step towards the greater good. Your home is a great place to start. Exchange your plastic grocery bags for a fabric carrier bag or, better yet, a bag made from recycled material. Start a vegetable patch in your garden (this is also a fun family activity and a wonderful way to bond outdoors). If you live close to work, try cycling or walking there every now and then instead of driving. Use energy-saving light bulbs. In an article entitled, 11 ways to save your planet, Oprah Winfrey recommends tossing out harmful chemical cleaning products, and replacing them with natural cleansers such as lemon juice, baking soda and vinegar. Even simply starting up conversations about the environment, especially with your children, could help grow new green ideas and get people involved!

Lastly, get those candles and matches out of storage and remember to turn off the lights in your home for Earth Hour 2012.

Read more about Earth Hour here.

What are some of your ideas to green our planet? Let us know! Let’s share our ideas and commit together to save our planet before it’s too late.