Friday, March 28, 2008

Earth Hour

According to an article in Time Magazine, “The average American produces about 20 tons of the major greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) every year.” Whew! In a little over 24 hours, we’ll be able to do something on a grand scale to change this number. Several weeks ago, I ran across a panel discussion about Earth Hour and I’ve been continuing to learn more details about it.

What is Earth Hour?
“Earth Hour, run by WWF, the conservation organisation, is a global climate change initiative which calls on individuals and businesses around the world, to turn off their lights for one hour on Saturday March 29 2008 between 8 pm and 9pm.
The aim of the campaign is to express that individual action on a mass scale can help change our planet for the better.
The event itself will clearly demonstrate in participating cities, the connection between energy usage and climate change, showing that we as broader community can address the biggest threat our planet has ever faced.”

What’s the origin of this event?
“It started with a question: How can we inspire people to take action on climate change?
The answer: Ask the people of Sydney to turn off their lights for one hour.
On 31 March 2007, 2.2 million people and 2100 Sydney businesses turned off their lights for one hour - Earth Hour. If the greenhouse reduction achieved in the Sydney CBD during Earth Hour was sustained for a year, it would be equivalent to taking 48,616 cars off the road for a year.
With Sydney icons like the Harbour Bridge and Opera House turning their lights off, and unique events such as weddings by candlelight, the world took notice. Inspired by the collective effort of millions of Sydneysiders, many major global cities are joining Earth Hour in 2008, turning a symbolic event into a global movement.”

The benefit?
“Last year we measured how much energy saved during Earth Hour in Sydney and achieved a reduction of 10.2% (more than doubled our target of 5%). But the main aim of the campaign is to continue to be energy efficient beyond Earth Hour, making small actions everyday to achieve our goal in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions in 2008.”

What can we do?
Turn off our lights on Saturday, March 29th between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m! Let’s work together to raise awareness about the need to reduce greenhouse gases and consider changes that we can make that will result in reduced energy conservation throughout the year!

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