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.
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||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||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||Reduced electricity consumption by 1.27 per cent, the same as taking 7,393 cars off the road for one hour.|
|2012||Reduced electricity consumption by 4.2 per cent, equivalent to turning off approximately 303,159 13-Watt compact fluorescent bulbs for one hour.|
|2013||Achieved a 3.23 per cent reduction, equivalent to turning off close to 248,404 13-Watt compact fluorescent light bulbs for one hour.|
|2014||We reduced electricity consumption by 2.85 per cent, equivalent to turning off approximately 218,770 13-Watt compact fluorescent bulbs for one hour.|
|2015||Residents reduced electricity consumption by 6.77 per cent compared to the previous Saturday and we were joined by 322 swimmers for the Earth Hour swim.|
|2016||Residents reduced electricity consumption by 3.08 per cent, equivalent to turning off 476,173 6 Watt LED bulbs for one hour.|
|2017||Reduced electricity consumption by 2.0 per cent compared to the previous Saturday, equivalent to powering 1.5 average households for one month.|
|2018||Reduced electricity consumption by 3.98 per cent compared to the previous Saturday, equivalent to powering 4470 average households 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 increases in greenhouse gases, 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. It may also cause changes in precipitation and weather patterns, potentially increasing the severity of weather related events such as storms, floods and droughts. These affect our economy, infrastructure, health and local environment.
How are Earth Hour and climate change related?
The large majority of GHG emissions are CO2 which is generated from burning fossil fuels such as gasoline, natural gas, oil and coal. In Alberta approximately 59 percent 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.
- Go for a walk and stargaze
- Have a candlelit dinner
- Roast marshmallows by the fireplace
- Play charades or board games by candlelight
- Invite friends over for a night of storytelling
- Make music with acoustic instruments
- Get crafty by candlelight
- Families can play hide-and-go-seek with flashlights
Going beyond the hour
- Turn off or unplug non-essential power sources or appliances such as chargers, coffee makers and computers when not in use
- Turn down the heat slightly and use a programmable thermostat to reduce temperature when you aren't home
- Spread the word to your family and friends, and encourage them to participate
For more information visit www.wwf.ca/earthhour.