A how-to guide for reducing carbon emissions and waste

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Earth Hour home page

With environmental crises bombarding us from every angle, it seems we can’t escape experts telling us how “simple” it is to reduce our carbon footprint.

While some individual methods are failing and producing no immediate results, it’s easy to feel as if personal efforts aren’t making a difference. But what if it really is simple? Even as simple as turning off a light for one hour?

Most people have probably seen the Facebook group promoting Earth Hour on March 29, 2008. While it at first seems like another attempt to take a stand on climate change, Earth Hour has been proven to be a successful initiative promoting individual responsibility for a greener future.

The campaign began last year when the World Wildlife Fund-Australia joined with the Sydney Morning Herald and asked the citizens of Sydney to turn off the power in their homes, offices and schools for one hour to support the need for swift action on the increasingly changing climate.

Over two million individuals participated in the campaign that shut down nearly all of Sydney on March 31, 2007. Australian landmarks like the Opera House and Harbour Bridge went dark, as people celebrated weddings by candlelight. The symbolic event reduced Sydney’s energy consumption by 10.2 per cent for one hour " the equivalent to 48,000 cars taken off the road.

The success of the movement sparked interest around the world, leading the WWF to take the campaign global. High profile cities such as Chicago, Copenhagen and Toronto have already signed on to participate in the second installment at 8 p.m. on March 29. They are urging citizens to simply stop consuming by turning off lights, unplugging appliances on standby and keeping cars off the road for just one hour.

The WWF urges people to pressure their communities to join the initiative.

While London, Ontario has yet to sign on to the list of cities actively taking part, individuals can take part by simply powering down for that hour.

The hope is people will see how little power they actually need in their daily lives and make Earth Hour “more than just an hour.” By powering down more often, you’ll be doing the environment (and your hydro bill) a favour.

So take a nap, read a book, or break out the box of candles and see how you really can set a path for a greener tomorrow.

For more information on Earth Hour visit www.earthhour.org or www.wwf.ca/earthhour.

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