Millions of people around the world took part in the eighth annual Earth Hour as part of their global stand against climate change. It was lights out for Toronto, Canada as well as citizens celebrated Earth Hour by switching off their lights for an entire hour this Saturday.
Earth Hour is a worldwide movement started by the Wild Wife Fund For Nature(WWF) for the welfare of the planet. The event is held on an annual basis where individuals and communities are encouraged to turn off non-essential sources of energy. This usually occurs from 8.30 pm-9.30 pm on the last Saturday of March.
It was originally started as a lights off event in Australia. Seen a sign of respect and concern for the planet, it is now observed by almost 7000 towns and cities around the world.
Citizens in Toronto, Canada took part in the event in their own different ways. Toronto’s CN Tower turned off all of their exterior lights save for the aircraft safety lights. The Tower also reduced the use of interior lights as much as they could or that which was possible. The government-owned utility NB Power also took part in the event. Tweeting a picture of a darkened Fredericton headquarters in New Brunswick they expressed their support for the planet by turning off all the extra lights.
Even though the event lasted for only an hour, it had a significant impact on the energy consumption for that duration. Toronto Hydro tweeted that power consumption dropped by six percent during Earth Hour. Organizers said that the event proves that there indeed is strength in numbers. Of how such a small act of turning off the lights can have a significant impact if enough people do it. Similar progress was seen as thousands of cities across the world including Toronto celebrated Earth Hour by turning off all excess lights.
Around 30 people participated in a Yoga class at Yoga Tree studio by conducting the class in candlelight. Instructor Jennifer Nicol said that each year she organizes an event by the candlelight to raise some money for the WWF. According to Nicol there were periods when the entire studio was completely silent but a dark studio surrounded by candlelight had a great feeling nonetheless.
A lot of effort was put into raising awareness for the event. Homegrown celebrities were invited to appear in videos and public service announcements to encourage active participation. Celebrities such as William Shatner, Jason Priestly and astronaut Chris Hadfield appeared in short videos to get people thinking about the conservation of energy.
While the drop in power consumption by six percent is admirable, it is believed that Toronto’s enthusiasm towards Earth Hour might be declining. The power usage drop observed last year was seven percent and the drop in 2009 was an enormous 15%. Toronto was also the first Canadian city to announce that it would participate in Earth Hour in 2008.
Earth Hour 2014 was held on Saturday March 29 and Earth Hour 2015 will be held on March 28 next year. While cities such as Toronto continue to step in the dark as they celebrate Earth Hour, it is only to strive for a better and a brighter future.
By Hammad Ali.