Thursday, March 22, 2018

Powering Down for the Planet ... Earth Hour 2018 set for Saturday

The annual call for awareness of the environment and the effects of climate change returns this weekend with the observance of Earth Hour, the sixty minute period where we are asked to do without our electronic devices and artificial lighting.

The hour to power down comes this Saturday evening, March 24th from 8:30 to 9:30 in British Columbia, with residents of the Northwest asked to switch off is solidarity with the world.

While the concept of Earth Hour started as a grass roots movement to raise awareness of the environment, the climate awareness initiative comes with a significant push from the World Wildlife Fund, which has taken on the organizational aspect of bringing millions of the world's citizens together for the hour long observance.

The WWF,  along with a range of other global partners look towards the goal of sparking conversations on how we are rapidly losing our natural environment and the impact that it is having on our lives.

This year's Earth Hour is developing the theme of #Connect2earth turning to social media to help spread the message and  highlight how communities around the world plan to power down for the hour, showcasing some of the events or projects that are being planned as part of the sixty minutes.

While one hour of awareness for the environment is a start, the nature of Earth Hour is to foster a permanent presence of climate change issues as part of a daily review, with organizers hoping that participants will take Saturday's hour long contribution and build on it, joining a global cause to go Beyond the Hour.

The Earth Hour initiative in the Northwest has had mixed results over the last decade, with some past events attracting strong participation, while others have struggled to find resonance with residents of the region.

The 2018 edition of Earth Hour also comes in the midst of the annual BC School Break, which probably makes for a lost opportunity to raise awareness through youngsters who would take the message home to their families.

A look back at some of the recent Prince Rupert events can be reviewed below:

2017 -- Earth Hour 2017 looks to regain momentum in Northwest
2016 -- Organizers hoping for a boost in Earth Hour participation levels for 2016
2014 -- Earth Hour 2014 and its hour of powering down arrives tonight
2013 -- Rupertites prepare to power down for an hour, as Earth Hour approaches
2012 -- Prince Rupert trends middle of the pack in Earth Hour involvement

When it comes to working towards reducing energy consumption this year in Northern BC, the bar is set pretty low for Saturday when compared to last years numbers.

As part of their review of energy consumption in 2017, the Northern region proved to be among least involved of any of the four BC Hydro service areas.

Across BC the reduction in electricity from region to region was as follows:

Lower Mainland: 16.5 megawatts less (0.4 per cent) 
Vancouver Island: 3.3 megawatts less (0.2 per cent) 
Southern Interior: 7.9 megawatts less (1.7 per cent) 
North: 3.4 megawatts more (0.4 per cent)

Collectively, British Columbians reduced their consumption level to the equivalent of turning off 1.1 million LED lights last year.

You can do a home comparison of your own contribution to Earth Hour if you wish, by logging onto the BC Hydro site and accessing your own report on electricity use, to see how what mark you will have to reach to improve on your consumption from 2017.

You can follow the progress of Earth Hour across the world through social media with a Facebook page, twitter feed and Instagram page all created for us to share how we are going to #Connect2earth

A look back at some of the previous Earth Hour events over the last five years is available from the Earth Hour home page, with reports from 2014-2016 available here.

For more notes on Community Events on the North Coast see our archive page here.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

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