Earth Hour is lots of fun – you invite your neighbours over for a candlelit supper and then watch the world go completely dark around you. However, just turning off the lights for an hour is not really going to make much difference. Using Solar Lanterns EVERY night might. Do participate with millions of people around the globe to Do It In The Dark on Saturday 23 March at 8.30pm, but also use the opportunity to rethink your energy useage for the rest of the year. Do The Green Thing has commissioned atists to create posters in celebration of Earth Hour to help inspire us to make real changes for greener lives. A few examples for your delight:
In the run-up to Earth Hour, designer and director Steven Qua wants to encourage people to turn their lights off and let their minds wander. “When I was young, I lived in a town with a lot of dogs and I used to lie in bed at night looking at the moon, listening to the barking. Now I’ve moved away I miss the barking – so every day I turn the lights off, look at the moon and bark myself to sleep.” WHY? Turn the lights off every time you leave a room and save an average of 397 kg CO2 a year, as well as knocking 20% off your electricity bill
Illustrator Hiromi Suzuki created this beautiful infographic to show the damage producing meat does to the planet. “When we think about the causes of pollution, we tend to think about things like planes and cars and power stations. No one ever thinks about meat, despite it being one of the biggest polluters out there. So we need to cut back, however delicious it is.” WHY? Producing just 1kg of beef, enough for a spag bol for you and 5 friends, creates a whopping 34.6kg of CO2, and uses a staggering 15,000 litres of water.
Convincing people to turn things off properly was Pentagram designer Joe Stephenson’s mission with this poster. The standby light embodies everything that’s wrong with the world: rather than walking two steps to turn the telly off properly, we just leave it on standby, sucking up electricity and driving up our energy bills. So I wanted to demonize those little red lights, by making everyone think of Kim Jong Il whenever they see one. WHY? A TV set that’s switched on for 3 hours a day and in standby mode for the remaining 21 hours uses about 40% of its energy on standby.
Tom Uglow, Creative Director at Google, wanted to remind people that good things happen when you ditch the car and walk instead. “I love to walk. We are made to walk. Even our minds work better when we walk, it is a pure meditative space, and when you walk you actually get somewhere. So I figure skip yoga, forget the gym, just walk. Oh, and you save the planet too”. WHY: Cars are one of the worst polluters out there, responsible for 4,160,000,000 metric tons of CO2 a year HOW? Reducing the amount of driving you do by just 10 miles a week will save about 500 pounds of carbon dioxide a year
Illustrator and world famous monsterist Pete Fowler wanted to inspire people to live a life less electrical with his poster: “I was on a train recently and I noticed that every passenger had an electric device plugged in and I thought it was insane. Gadgets are great but oh my god we’re consuming so much power, let’s pull back a little bit. Synthesizers and audio equipment and all the wires that come out of them are great, but it’s also nice to show a world with acoustic sound and natural light. I think everyone should plug out their synth for an hour and strum an acoustic guitar.” WHY? American kids now spend more than 7.5 hours every day using an electronic device – which is bad for the environment and their brains.
Sophie Thomas, Co-Director of Design at the RSA, recycled plastic waste to create a poster that encourages others to do likewise. “All these pieces were part of the estimated 10% of our plastic waste that ends up in the sea, washed in from landfill sites. Plastic should not be in landfill. Use your consumer power to push for change. If you can recycle it do, and if you can’t take it back to the shop and ask why they are selling you something that has to be put in the rubbish. WHY? The UK produces 31 million tonnes of waste a year, the same weight as three and a half million double-decker buses. And it’s getting worse – every year we produce about 3% more waste than the year before.
Pentagram’s Harry Pearce was struck by how many of us seem to have forgotten how to use our feet. “Walking is the most natural human thing to do. It’s what we’re built for, and what we’re built to do more of. This poster is about subverting a common symbol to a new purpose. Taking a symbol about learning to drive, and recycling it to inspire someone to walk more.” WHY? Walking significantly improves our health – building stamina, burning excess calories and helping to keep a healthy heart. Most people walk between 3,000 and 4,000 steps a day, but by increasing this to 10,000 you can burn up to 440 calories, reduce emissions and see a lot of lovely things along the way.
Artist and illustrator Andrew Rae wanted to convince people to choose tap water by highlighting the sheer madness that is mineral water. “It bugs the hell out of me how many mineral water bottles are clogging up the oceans and being transported around the world when water is readily available from any tap. Stupid!” WHY? Bottled water releases over 1,000 times more CO2 per litre than tap water, costs over 1,000 times as much, and tastes EXACTLY THE SAME More than 25% of bottled water comes from a municipal water supply – the same place tap water comes from.
Illustrator Andy Ward wanted to encourage us to live a life less electrical and more connected. “Disconnecting from habitual technology use, turning the power off and reawakening the senses. Beyond the immediate benefits of turning off the current and using less electricity I wanted to show that in turning off our technology we can also reconnect with the world around us in a more natural way. Reconnect with nature, marvel at its beauty and work long term hand in hand to make changes.” “I’ve illustrated a little urbanite going through his moment of awakening. A bird acts as messenger and delivers the green message. Do the Green thing – turn off, tune in. Music to his ears.” WHY? The average person uses 5,700 watts of energy per day on electronics.
The shower scene in Psycho is one of the most famous moments in movie history – and it gave Michael Bierut, partner at Pentagram, the perfect way to scare people into cutting their shower short: “Taking a brisk, water-efficient shower is the best way to start a productive day. And the most famous shower ever filmed was one that was notoriously interrupted. Had Janet Leigh been a bit quicker, she may have made it to the end of the movie!” WHY? Cutting 2 minutes off your showering time will save 16,425 litres of water a year – and you’ll still smell just as fresh.
Illustrator Mr. Guil wanted to create a poster that inspired people to use things up to the very end – and so, logically, he did so by using a pencil right to the end. “I have always wondered why people don’t use pencils to the very end. This piece, made with one pencil, is influenced by the visual image of pencils revolving around my creatures combined with abstract forms and structures.” “I find it interesting to observe how the pencils diminishing size can affect the line and shapes of a drawing. Imposing alterations to the hand movement. Therefore contributing to the creative process of the pencil men eating pencils; men on pencil skies, with pencil nose and pencil tattoos.” WHY? Over 1.5 billion Bic pens are thrown out by Americans every year – and it’s a fair bet that most of the them still have a lot of writing left in them.
What else will you do? At least sign up to FOLLOW Do The Green Thing? Funky ideas pop right into your inbox to keep you inspired. Happy Earth Hour, Happy Earth.