Shine a light into climate change darkness - Metro US

Shine a light into climate change darkness

Sometimes you have to spend a little time in the dark to see the light.

This Saturday night Calgarians have a chance to cast a ballot on the future of the planet by turning out their lights for an hour at 8:30 p.m. to mark the third annual Earth Hour.

Event organizer, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), has set its sites at one billion people casting “a vote for earth” worldwide by switching off unnecessary lights for an hour, in hopes of sending a message to world leaders about global warming.

Last year we gave it the old college try.

Calgarians were among 50 million people who flipped the switch for change. The city shut off municipal building lights, save for those needed for safety, while restaurants, private citizens, the zoo and even the Calgary Tower went dark for the cause.

While some cities saw a marked reduction, Calgary upped electricity use in Earth Hour 2008 — from 1,050 megawatts at 7:45 p.m. to 1,060 megawatts 30 minutes later.

Chicago saved the equivalent of taking a million cars off the road during the hour, Sydney, Australia — where the event debuted in 2007 — cut wattage by 8.4 per cent, while Christchurch, New Zealand cut its power demand by an impressive 13 per cent.

Maybe it was a lack of planned candle-lit options on that chilly night last March. Or the fact the Flames hosted the Oilers.

It’s hard to face off against hockey (and the puck drops again at the Dome this Earth Hour), but a spring-like high of 7 C is expected Saturday.

Meanwhile, group events will help pass the time for those too timid to go it alone in the dark.

Music lovers can take in Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons in a CPO concert at the Jack Singer powered 100 per cent by Bullfrog Power beginning at 8 p.m.

Stargazers can hit the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory starting at 7:30 p.m. to watch the Calgary sky go dim.

A candle-lit vigil is slated for 8 p.m. next to the Bow (1111 Memorial Dr.) hosted by local groups from Eco-living to the Alberta Wilderness Association and REAP, urging people to bring candles, music and ideas for change.

So far more than 84 countries have pledged to take part in what organizers are dubbing the first global election against climate change.

I prefer see it as the first time my vote stands more of a chance than a stab in the dark in Alberta.

And who can argue with the fact that everyone looks better by candlelight.

– Shelley Williamson is a freelance writer hailing from the east coast, now living and and writing in Calgary for over a decade.

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