earth-hour-2010

So what are you doing between the hours of 8:30 and 9:30pm – tomorrow, Saturday, March 27th? Hopefully you, like millions of others around the world, will be participating in Earth Hour 2010. If this is the first time you’ve heard of it, Earth Hour is a global event that takes place annually to encourage communities, businesses and governments around the world to switch off non-essential lights and appliances for one hour to take a stand against climate change and raise awareness about the amount of electricity that we use on a daily basis.

Earth Hour started as a WWF (World Wildlife Fund) initiative in Sydney, Australia back in 2007 where 2.2 million Sydneysiders participated and managed to decrease their entire city’s power usage during that hour by over 10%. Since then, hundreds of cities, provinces, states, and countries have taken on the challenge and urged their citizenry to participate in a global Earth Hour.

Closer to home, you don’t have to look far to find local businesses taking on the challenge. Here in Vancouver, there are many well-known restaurants that will be hosting candle-lit dinners with all non-essential lighting turned off in the restaurant – pretty romantic, eh? Many large office towers in the city will also be going black for that entire evening which will give the city, and especially the downtown core, an eerie and empty feel to it.

In my workplace, they have instructed employees to ensure to turn off all lighting at their desks, turn off their computer and monitor (something you should be doing anyway), and unplug the powerbar at their workstation before they leave for the weekend. The goal of my employer is to show leadership in energy conservation by participating and in doing so, reducing our energy use in our office buildings substantially.

earth-hour-2010-lights-out

What can you do to participate? Well, if you’re planning on having a party, get out the candles and turn off the lights! Or, if you’re planning on a date, go for an evening stroll in the park, or dine out at one of the participating candle-light dinners, or dine at home in the dark, or turn off the lights in your home and play hide and seek or something – get creative! Also try to turn off your heat, unplug all radios, PVR’s, DVD players, clocks, battery chargers of any kind including your cell phone and computer as they are still drawing upon electricity even if they are not hooked up to anything!

It’s all about education people! Once we realize how much power we can save together, and we see the impact of our actions, the impetus to make a difference becomes greater. It’s not easy to make big sweeping changes, but if everyone managed to participate in Earth Hour in their own way and in doing so learned that they didn’t have to keep their computer and monitor on all night or got in the habit of unplugging their cell phone charger after it is used, then step by step our goal of creating more of a conservation culture will be won.

What will you be doing for Earth Hour?