Simple Solution: Earth Day, Lights, and Black Balloons

BOY HOLDING THE EARTH

Sometimes, I see that every light in the house is on. I remind my son to turn them off as that’s a waste of electricity. With Earth Day coming up, I thought that turning off unused lights would be a reasonable target.

The catch is, electricity is invisible. It can be a hard concept to grasp. I wanted a visual—something tangible that could represent the electricity leak of an unused light.

And then I remembered the “Black Balloon” campaign that Al Gore posted on his Inconvenient Truth website awhile back. This video idea was also made into a series of commercials. Maybe you’ve seen them. Black balloons appear out of fans and refrigerators and lights, showing the energy leak and greenhouse gas emissions.

When my son saw this one, he said, “What a great idea. But at first I thought they were bowling balls.” He went on to say it makes him mad that people waste electricity and he’s not going to do it anymore. Good one, huh? I also asked him how else they could have represented the emissions. He thought pulling out long strings from the appliances would be a good visual. So, balloons or strings, try using a visual to represent such an abstract concept. Turn off those lights. And help take care of the earth in the process. What other ideas do you have to promote Earth Day?