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The Un-Power Hour

The Un-Power Hour


This column was not written on Saturday, March 24, 2018 between 3:30-4:30 pm or 8:30-9:30pm.

The reason I am certain about the timing is my observation of Earth Hour 2018.

Every year millions of people, businesses and landmarks set aside an hour to host events, switch off their lights and make noise for the Earth Hour movement. The Earth Hour movement began in 2007 in Sydney, Australia as a symbolic lights out event.  You may remember seeing aerial images of the city and its iconic opera house sitting in almost complete darkness.

Each year since its inception, Earth Hour has grown in scope and meaning.  It is now focused on sparking never-before-had conversations on nature and the unique diversity of life we share our home with.

With Earth Day just around the corner on April 22, observing Earth Hour seemed like the perfect way to kick things off.  I am always looking for ways to ignite conversations on issues facing Southwest Florida and beyond and events like Earth Hour and Earth Day provide a platform for dialogue.

The team at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, likes to think of everyday as Earth Day, but in recognition and solidarity around the special event we have been planning ways for the community to join us in the celebration of our Earth.

We have a crowdfunding platform for our Fund for the Environment, engagement activities and some pretty cool swag to give away in the weeks ahead, but we all agreed we would observe Earth Hour from our own vantage points.

As is the case this time of year, I had a fundraising event Saturday night, and as much as I tried to encourage the organization to turn the lights out for the hour- that just wasn’t feasible.  So in solidarity with the global community, I joined my daughter who lives in Bologna, Italy in our own personal lights out event, which meant I did it at 3:30 in the afternoon, which was 8:30pm her time.

I would like to say we Skyped throughout the hour, but that seemed a bit counterproductive.  So we debriefed once we turned the lights back on.  It was not as effective for me since I had the benefit of sunlight, but I attempted to sit in a dark closet.

The real connectivity between us came in the preparation.  Discussing why we were doing it, how it could happen and the reasons behind Earth Hour.  She has lived in Europe for nearly a decade and it was interesting to hear the different perspective on issues facing our mother earth.

I also enjoyed watching and learning from all of the events that happened across the globe and the pictures from places like Paris and New York City are always astonishing.

Of course an hour of observation won’t solve the issues that are facing us when it comes to protecting our Earth.  But coming together to talk, plan, advocate and pursue solutions is the way things are accomplished.

If you missed the official Earth Hour, no worries.  You can be creative and find ways over the next few weeks to get involved in a wide array of Earth Day activities.

Check out our designated webpage for ways to connect to our local efforts and remember even if the Earth Hour has passed for this year, there are still many opportunities to get involved.  Visit their website at to see the highlights from this year’s event and set your calendar for 2019.


The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, founded in 1976, cultivates regional change for the common good through collective leadership, social innovation and philanthropy to address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Foundation partners with individuals, families and corporations who have created more than 400 philanthropic funds. Thanks to them, the Foundation invested $5.4 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of $115 million, it has provided more than $71 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception. The Foundation is the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan. Currently, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s regional headquarters are located off College Parkway in South Fort Myers, with satellite offices located on Sanibel Island, in LaBelle (Hendry County) and downtown Fort Myers. For more information, call 239-274-5900 or visit


For more information about the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, call 239-274-5900 or visit






Sarah Owen
Sarah Owen

Sarah Owen, President & CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, leads a passionate and diverse team dedicated to driving regional change for the common good. The Foundation is committed to engaging the community in conversations and action that creates sustainable positive change and provides the funding to make those changes a reality. More