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Is time running out on Earth Hour?

The fourth annual Earth Hour was observed across Canada last Saturday evening.

The fourth annual Earth Hour was observed across Canada last Saturday evening. From 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., lights dimmed in hundreds of communities as Canadians lent their efforts to a global initiative to reduce power use.


But in Canada at least, the savings were fairly negligible. Toronto saved only half the power of a year ago. Other big cities also showed reduced results, and in Edmonton, electricity consumption actually went up.


So, was it a success? Is Earth Hour an idea that’s worth pursuing?


“Absolutely, it’s a useful exercise,” says Stacey McCarthy, communications manager for WWF-Canada in Halifax. “We’re very happy that the number of participating cities, municipalities and towns in Canada increased to 422 this year. It was 304 a year ago.”


McCarthy insists rising participation — as opposed to kilowatt-hours saved — is the better measure of Earth Hour’s effectiveness.


“The one hour is a symbolic demonstration more than an effort to save power,” she says. “We just want to see awareness increasing, and that’s what did happen. Earth Hour is becoming a common household term. It’s exciting to see Canadians click in and say, ‘I need to do something about this.’”


Jennifer Link, spokesperson for Toronto Hydro, agrees.


“Generally, conservation is a year-round activity,” she says. “This is an awareness-raising tactic to get people excited about conservation. Why wouldn’t you do it? It generates interest, and gets people thinking about conservation for the longer term.”

 
 
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