Do you think you can turn your lights off for an hour? The WWF is challenging people around the world to do just that at 8 p.m. local time on March 29. The global event is called Earth Hour, and the goal is to raise awareness of global warming. Last year’s inaugural event took place in Sydney, Australia, where more than 2 million people and 2100 businesses turned off their lights. The result was a 10% reduction in the demand for electricity during the hour-long action.
Toronto signed on for this year’s event as the “lead Canadian city” (would we have accepted anything less?). The Star, as the anointed local media partner, began heavily promoting Earth Hour a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, the problem with having a major media outlet as a primary partner is that there’s been nary a peep from any of the city’s other newspapers. Granted, two months of lead time is an eternity in today’s five-minute news cycle, but people need a lot of time to prepare for turning their lights off for an hour on a Saturday night. The city is hoping that a million Torontonians will participate this year.
About twenty cities are confirmed participants so far this year, but more will likely join the effort in the coming weeks. In Canada, Oakville and Ottawa signed on last month, Montreal is expected to do the same, and some of the 905 cities are also considering taking part.
For a city that still looks back on the 2003 blackout with a bit of nostalgia, turning off the lights for an hour should be a snap. Think of it as a warm-up for Earth Day a few weeks later, when you’ll get to think about the rest of the planet for an entire 24 hours.
Photo by static416 from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.