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The Nelly Furtado Hour of Darkness

This Nelly has 60 minutes.
You’ve got less than three weeks to prepare yourself for Earth Hour on Saturday, March 29. That’s when people around the world are being encouraged to turn off their lights for one hour to raise awareness about global warming. Toronto was the first Canadian city to sign up for the international event late last year, and has since been joined by most other GTA municipalities, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, and many more—close to 50 cities across the country at last count.
Toronto’s lofty goal of one million participants has some people wondering what half the city is going to do for that hour if they’re not sitting at home in their brightly-lit living rooms. A few of those people will now be heading down to Nathan Phillips Square, where Nelly Furtado will be giving a free concert starting at 7:30 p.m. The acoustic concert will be carbon-neutral, thanks to electricity purchased from green energy provider Bullfrog Power.
Add your name to the global list of participants at the Earth Hour web site if you’re planning to take part in Toronto’s event. Naturally there’s a Facebook group (the largest of several) for tracking the Earth efforts of all of your friends.
Of course, you don’t have to go to the concert to participate. You can just turn off all the lights at home and do whatever comes to mind in the darkness. You’ll have an hour; surely that’s enough.
Earth Hour logo from WWF-Canada; Nelly Furtado photo by Shirlaine Forrest via Wikipedia.


  • David Topping

    Fifty bucks says she plays “Turn Off the Light.”

  • Doggiez

    On the bright side, I haven’t been subjected to “Floats Like a Turd” for awhile on the radio.

  • ronotoe

    wouldn’t it have been more symbolic to hold the concert at yonge & dundas square?? where the sea of turned off adverts up above would have looked at least mildly relevant to the cause?

  • rek

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to hold an acoustic concert?

  • Mark Ostler

    Rek: They’re calling it an accoustic concert. The article above even says so: “The acoustic concert will be carbon-neutral, thanks to electricity purchased from green energy provider Bullfrog Power.” I didn’t know Bullfrog was a carbon-neutral company.
    Of course, a real accoustic concert, with no mics/sound system, just instruments and voice, with several small audiences listening to lesser known local artists is just out of the question. Gotta bring in Furtado, whose lyrics are so overtly environmental in nature. “Maneater”? It’s about the animals that begin to stalk mankind in earnest after the fall of civilization brought upon by a global environmental disaster.

  • Svend

    If the concert is powered, how will it appear different? We need to see a symbol, not imagine it.

  • Chester Pape

    Bullfrog power is all wind and “low impact” hydro sources. There’s embedded carbon in some of that technology but no incremental carbon in generation.
    I’m becoming increasingly convinced that this event is pretty much greenwashing. I don’t have a problem with the need for a symbolic event that can remind people of the problem and the need for concrete action but whole Earth hour concept is symbolic only and speedily getting watered down to less than that. Because of the timing it’s not really actually reducing much carbon. Saturday at 8PM in the spring is already not a high demand time, so the carbon spewing peaking plants will be idle anyway, most of the electricity that won’t be consumed is already carbon free nuke and hydro, then you turn the symbology of going dark for an hour on it’s head by having a powered event, even if it is “green” power and you’re getting pretty far from something actually useful.

  • rek

    I realize they’re calling it an acoustic concert, but it’s fundamentally not, regardless of who performs.
    In 10 years we’ll look back and the quaint idea of voluntarily conserving an hour of electricity, as we huddle around candles on Weekly Ration Day 2.

  • Chester Pape

    A pretty decent amount of nuke/hydro/photovoltaic electricity will be available for us long term provided you can stay connected to wires. Transportation on the other hand will change massively as the economics of fossil fuel combustion gets turned on its head by shortages, real or artificial and polluter pays taxation.

  • Damien Walder

    This idea of an hour – who the hell thought that would amount to anything meaningful in winter?!
    Wouldn’t this have worked out better as a public event in say, summer – and tied in better with the anniversary of the 2003 blackout? Symbolic resonance, you might say…
    I do not see anything about Ms. Furtado’s involvement that implies she is anything but a figurehead on a ship without proper navigation.
    Chalk this event up under “Ways to make ecology seem trivial”, where it can join the millions of tungsten lightbulbs and plastic packaging of the mercury laden lights that took their place.
    Turn out the light, indeed.

  • Val Dodge

    March in Australia (where the event originates) is like September here, so that explains the timing. If we’re tagging along on their event, we accept their timing. I think it’s more symbolic that people around the world do something together for one hour, whenever that hour happens to be.
    I know that we’re the centre of the universe and all, but the world does not revolve around Toronto street festivals and blackout nostalgia.

  • Chester Pape

    I get the symbolism of the event but at a certain point, and I think we’ve crossed that point, you gotta say, this is a pointless symbol or even a counter-productive one. It’s not like people around the world are actually doing this simultaneously, it’s being done at 8PM local time in each place. I’d rather see the effort put into something less symbolic and more concretely constructive.
    If you’ve concerned about the downsides of CFL bulbs then skip a generation and go to LEDs. LED manufacture is not without it’s issues too but at least the waste stream is miniscule and benign.

  • rek

    The time for symbols has passed.