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Earth Hour

Dim Swim 2014: Make a splash with global impact!
Join us for a Dim Swim on Saturday, March 29, as we celebrate Earth Hour. Swim for a toonie per person at the G.H. Dawe and Collicutt Centre from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. We are turning off unnecessary lights to reduce power and raise awareness of climate change.

If you don’t come for a dip, try to turn off unnecessary lights and appliances to reduce electricity at home.

Earth Hour, power consumption and climate change
On Saturday, March 29 between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. we encourage you to join us in turning off unnecessary lights and appliances to reduce electricity consumption in support of Earth Hour 2014.

What is Earth Hour?
Earth Hour started in Australia in 2007 when 2.2 million electricity consumers switched off their lights for one hour to raise awareness about climate change. From there, it turned into a global movement.

Why participate?
Earth Hour is not about just saving one hour of electricity; it's about uniting people globally to protect the planet and going beyond the hour. The real significance of Earth Hour is in its educational value. Earth Hour reminds each of us that we can take steps to reduce our environmental impact.

Participating in Earth Hour demonstrates our commitment to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and proves that individual efforts, when taken together, add up to make a positive difference for the environment.

How is Red Deer involved?

Red Deerians have been participating in Earth Hour since 2008.

  • 2009 - we reduced electricity consumption by 2.5 per cent, enough energy to run four cars for one year and is equivalent to removing 16 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2).
  • 2010 - we reduced electricity consumption by 4.6 per cent, enough energy to run the entire traffic light system for 10 days or power 30 houses for one month.
  • 2011 - we reduced electricity consumption by 1.27 per cent, the same as taking 7,393 cars off the road for one hour.
  • 2012 - we reduced electricity consumption by 4.2 per cent, equivalent to turning off approximately 303,159 13-watt compact fluorescent bulbs for one hour.
  • 2013 - we achieved a 3.23 per cent reduction, equivalent to turning off close to 248,404 13-Watt compact fluorescent light bulbs for one hour.

What is climate change?
Climate change is a long-term shift in climate measured by changes in temperature, precipitation, winds and other indicators. It is caused by the increased proportion of GHGs, such as CO2 and methane. These gases trap heat near the Earth’s surface. Although GHGs are a natural and critical part of our atmosphere human activity has increased their proportion beyond what is naturally present, effectively increasing the Earth’s layer of insulation and trapping excess heat.

The impacts of climate change go beyond increasing average temperatures. Climate change may also cause changes in precipitation and weather patterns, potentially increasing the severity of weather related events such as storms, floods and droughts. All of these affect our economy, infrastructure, health and local environment.

How are Earth Hour and climate change related?
A large majority of GHG emissions are in the form of CO2 which is generated from burning fossil fuels such as gasoline, natural gas, oil and coal. In Alberta approximately 59 per cent of our electricity comes from coal-fired power plants, so reducing our electricity use helps reduce our fossil fuel consumption and alleviate impacts of climate change.

Earth Hour activities
Shutting off unnecessary lights often makes people realize how dependent we are on electricity and electronic entertainment. Here are some fun things you can do without electricity.

  1. Go for a walk and stargaze
  2. Have a candlelit dinner
  3. Meditate
  4. Go for a refreshing bike ride
  5. Roast marshmallows by the fireplace
  6. Play charades or board games by candlelight
  7. Invite friends over for a night of storytelling
  8. Make music with an unplugged instrument
  9. Get crafty by candlelight
  10. Have kids? Play hide-and-go-seek with flashlights

Going beyond the hour

    1. Turn off or unplug non-essential power sources or appliances such as chargers, coffee makers and computers when not in use
    2. Turn down the heat slightly
    3. Spread the word to your family and friends, and encourage them to participate.

For more information visit the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour website at http://wwf.ca/earthhour.