Saturday March 27th marks the fourth annual Earth Hour. The WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) is asking residents and businesses to turn off non-essential lights and appliances for one hour 8:30 – 9:30pm local time.
Earth Hour began in Sydney, Australia in 2007, the idea of The Sydney Herald Newspaper and the WWF. 2.2 million residents and businesses participated by turning off non-essential lights. It is a symbolic movement to raise climate awareness and inspire people around the world to play a part in a sustainable future.
Since then other cities and countries have joined the event…and the movement is growing. WWF-Canada says this year exceeds the number of countries participating from 88 officially last year to 105 and counting. Here in Ottawa, the Parliament Buildings lights will go out (nah, too easy a joke) along with other famous Canadian landmarks.
In 2008, the Toronto Star Newspaper reported that the city of Toronto dropped 900 megawatts during Earth Hour. Apparently, this amount of electricity is enough to power about 434,450 homes. The following year was even more of a success with a 920 megawatt reduction and roughly 10 million Canadians took part in the event. Expectations are high for better numbers this year.
Here is a cool link for more information about Earth Hour celebrations in your part of the world…and a little video for inspiration.
Last year my family participated in Earth Hour when thirty-five of us gathered to celebrate a big birthday. We kicked off the hour by turning off the lights to sing Happy Birthday and kept them off. We lit other candles and kept a close eye on them. The kids thought it was fun running around with flashlights and making “woooo” scary sounds. Unfortunately, it caused a raucous with the men when we tried to turn off the TV. Turns out Earth Hour coincided with some NHL hockey game…blah blah. A disturbing vote took place in which the TV that night became an “essential” appliance. Although we unplugged everything we could and turned off all the lights…the living room glowed by the light of the screen. It is not a great green story…but it is a positive start.
Earth Hour is more than turning lights off for an hour. The hope is that people will feel a part of a global movement, and make small energy saving changes going forward. How about you? Are you going to be part of Earth Hour 2010? I could use some fun ideas.