Earth Hour 2011 gives time to ponder energy reduction

A look at Earth Hour 2011, how it works and why it's beneficial to participate.

  • Mar. 22, 2011 9:00 a.m.

Columbia Valley residents can join millions of Canadians and people across the world in support of Earth Hour 2011 by turning off their lights on Saturday, March 26 from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Earth Hour is an annual global event hosted by WWF and supported provincially by BC Hydro. The goal of the event is to encourage individuals to turn off unnecessary lights and electronics in an effort to conserve power and in doing so, demonstrate support for the fight against climate change.

Last year, Invermere reduced its electricity consumption by 1.3 per cent during Earth Hour. Provincially, the load dropped by 1.04 per cent. The community of Burns Lake measured the highest reduction in consumption in B.C. at seven per cent.

Dave Cobb, BC Hydro’s president and CEO said, in an official press release, “Earth Hour’s goals complement our conservation strategies and we fully support programs that get people thinking about how they can reduce energy waste and use year-round. If everyone who participated last year turned off their unnecessary lights and appliances for just one hour every evening, the combined savings would be enough to power close to 2,200 homes for an entire year. That’s a goal worth exceeding.”

BC Hydro provides tools, resources and incentives to help people conserve year-round. For example, washing clothes in cold water, turning off the heated-dry function on dishwashers and turning down the heat by one degree are all simple changes people can make every day to conserve electricity.

“It’s a recognition by the people of all nations in the world of environmental impact,” said Wildsight director Bob Campsall. “As these things become more recognized and more urgent, lessened impact on the environment can happen.”

“I think an initiative like this, that results in reduced electricity, water, power, and addresses those issues, also gives people a chance to pause and reflect on energy reduction,” said Ron Clark, president of the District of Invermere’s Wildsight branch.

“The message behind these kinds of things can jog people’s memory and make them conscious of their environmental impact all year-round, not just one hour of one day.”

Earth Hour began in Sydney, Australia, as a one-city initiative in 2007 and has grown to become a global phenomenon.

In 2010, Earth Hour reached more than 1.3 billion people in 128 countries and territories. More than 10 million Canadians participated in about 300 cities and towns.