Did you ever think it would be nice if you, just one person, could make a difference? Well, my friend, you can.

Tonight at 8:30 the World Wildlife Fund has declared “Earth Hour.” Turn off your lights and everything electric for one hour. By turning off your lights for these 60 minutes you will send a message that you stand with all the Americans, and millions of people around the world, who have taken the pledge and care about the escalating climate crisis.

This isn’t happening in just our little corner of the world. More than 7,000 cities and more than 162 countries, including the United Nations and the Vatican, have pledged to switch off their lights for Earth Hour. Participate, and you will be in solidarity with hundreds of millions of people around the world.

Earth Hour encourages individuals like you, schools, Scout groups, organizations, businesses and whole cities to sign up and participate. Imagine if every household in Kansas and Missouri would take the pledge and turn off their lights for one hour dedicated to the future of the Earth.

It began in Sydney, Australia in 2007 out of a hope that a small group of people could make a stand against climate change. The hour of inspiration would be a moment in which people can gather together to protect the planet regardless of age, gender, culture or religion. Little did the creators of Earth Hour know that it would kick start a global revolution for people to take action on climate change, or that the act of turning off lights for an hour would become an iconic symbol of people’s concern to protect the planet. Earth Hour is now the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment, inspiring millions of people to take action for our planet and nature. However, Earth Hour was not created just to switch off lights.

Earth Hour has three stages:

• Stage 1 – bring people together through a symbolic hour-long event. The first stage has been achieved.

• Stage 2: Galvanize people into taking action beyond the hour. The Earth Hour brand has become a platform to help countries mobilize individuals on environmental priorities.

• Stage 3: Create an interconnected global community sharing the mutual goal of creating a sustainable future for the planet. The movement proves that one person has the capacity to inspire change. You have the power to make a difference!

You can make this Saturday night an important and fun event for the whole family. Eat dinner by candlelight, then keep those candles lit and tell stories to each other about your fond memories growing up. Who knows? This may turn out to be a weekly event. Every Saturday night, turn out the lights – it could be the best thing that’s happened in a long time!

One person committed to reducing energy consumption can make a difference, but millions working together can change the world. Don’t forget, set the alarm for 8:30 p.m.; going black will be for green!

For more information, check out www.EarthHour.org.

-- Lynn Youngblood is the executive director of the Blue River Watershed Association; a residential energy client service coordinator certified by the National Energy Retrofit Institute; and a former nature center manager with the Missouri Department of Conservation.