When the City of Lights decides it’s “Lights Out” for one hour, you know that Earth Hour has gained momentum. Paris, France and other places around the world are fighting climate change by turning off all electric lights and appliances for one hour in a show of environmentalist support (as well as reducing their city’s carbon dioxide output.)
What is Earth Hour?
March 21, 2017 several major cities and various municipalities will turn out the lights in their buildings, malls, stores, restaurants and apartment buildings for one hour, between 8:30pm and 9:30pm.
This movement began in Sydney, Australia in 2007. Even the famous Sydney Opera House turned off its lights for one hour as a gesture of environmental concern; by turning off all lights, it had helped reduce the amount of energy it consumed, and reduced that city’s carbon footprint.
What is Earth Hour Trying to Accomplish?
The single gesture of turning everything off is poignant for two reasons – raising social awareness and causing a positive environmental effect. The immediate effect is having everyone realize that we may use or buy more electrical toys than we really need.
By getting individuals to unplug or switching off everything with an electrical cord, we become aware of what may be wasted or overused, so we can begin to re-assess what is needed, and reduce our consumption accordingly.
The second reason for participating in Earth Hour is to alter the environment positively, even for one hour. Individual households can see the changes one hour of hydro-free fun has on their electricity bill, while a city hosting such an event can see how it reduces carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The more that people participate by flicking off their switches will make a larger impact on the environment.
Who is Joining the Earth Hour Event?
Earth Hour began in one city to raise awareness about climate change, and grew to a global event that occurred across six continents last year.
Besides Canada’s flagship cities, Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver, various cities and towns around the world are raising awareness about climate change. As of the date of this posting, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) states that the number of cities and towns that have signed up to join in Earth Hour now exceeds 500.
For a complete listing of locations that are participating in Earth Hour, check out the WWF’s Earth Hour web page.
Earth Hour 2017
Reasons to Participate in Earth Hour
Turning off the lights for an hour shouldn’t be seen as hollow gesture, or single event that will automatically improve the environment. Demonstrating that individuals are ready to take a personal action to help protect the planet’s ecosystems should be everyone’s goal.
WWF hopes that Earth Hour will send a message to governments to take action to control greenhouse gas emissions. The WWF states in its press release, that it is important to start the process to extend the Kyoto accord now because it will take 2-3 years for ratification, and thus ensure a seamless transmission.
Get your school, local government, business and neighbourhood involved: Sign up with the Earth Hour Group page, or start a bake sale to donate proceeds to the WWF. You don’t have to climb the CN Tower or donate hundreds of dollars to make a difference; even switching off a few lights when you leave the room will make a difference.
Host an Earth Hour party, where you can all pledge to contribute to make easy changes; even small reductions are a part of the big picture.