Resort Municipality of Whistler Sustainability Coordinator
It's the darkest 3,600 seconds of the year, we hope. Symbolic, maybe. Engaging, effective and educational, absolutely. Let's switch off and turn on to Earth Hour.
Set for 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 27, Earth Hour is all about switching off lights and other energy-using devices to illuminate the issue of climate change and our collective ability to make a real difference through the energy choices we make every day. Even more than a call to action, Earth Hour enables citizens of the world to speak with one voice for 60 minutes.
Last year, Earth Hour was a huge success with more than 80 countries participating worldwide and in Canada, over 10 million people participated in more than 275 cities from coast-to-coast. Whistler has signed up for Earth Hour for the third year in a row and the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) and other community partners are coming up with innovative "lights out" initiatives. Locally, Pemberton earned top spot for energy savings in all of British Columbia, with a 4.6 per cent drop. Whistler, on the other hand, and mysteriously, increased our energy use by just over one per cent. We can do better.
The RMOW has already committed to a number of initiatives and municipal staff have been challenged to put on their thinking caps and identify switch flipping targets in RMOW facilities and operations, as well as their homes. RMOW will support Earth Hour through a number of initiatives:
• turning off festive lighting in the village;
• turning off the lights at the Village Fire Hall, Municipal Hall, the Public Safety building, Spruce Grove Field House and the Public Works Yard;
• turning off all village heat tracing; and
• turning off the lighting at the Lost Lake cross-country ski trails.
Operators of the Whistler Sliding Centre are also getting in on the fun, powering down the lights and any other non-essential systems in support of Earth Hour.
Coordinated by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Earth Hour originated in Sydney, Australia in 2007, and has now gained global attention. This year, organizers are pushing for a billion people in cities around the world to unite and switch off. Thousands of cities in dozens of countries around the world are committed to darkness March 27.
The World Wildlife Fund is also looking for inspiring tales in support of Earth Hour in their ongoing attempt to make every hour Earth Hour. Maybe you've decided to bike or take transit to work instead of driving your car. Or maybe you're trying to reduce the amount of waste your family throws out, or how much electricity you use. There are lots of little changes you can make - and those little changes will add up to make a huge difference!
Upload a video or photo essay at www.EarthHourCanada.org to show steps you're taking for the planet - big or small - and you could win a trip for two to see polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba.
The deadline to submit photos and videos and collect votes is March 25. The 10 entries with the most votes will be announced on March 27 for a final round of voting.
With a flip of the switch we can all make a difference during Earth Hour and every day.
Switch it up for Earth Hour
Turn off your non-essential lights on March 27 at 8:30 p.m. (being mindful of lighting needed for safety, of course) including external signs. This will let the public know that you're supporting Earth Hour.
Sign-up at www.EarthHourCanada.org
Then think about what else you can do to reduce your energy use beyond Earth Hour. For example, unplug electrical appliances, lower your heat, and switch to energy-efficient lighting and appliances.
Consider any other activities or promotions you can engage in to let the public know that you're involved in Earth Hour. For more ideas, visit www.EarthHourCanada.org