Earth Hour: Shut 'er down, Surrey

Clayton Heights Secondary is ready to flick the switch for Earth Hour. - JENNIFER LANG/CLOVERDALE REPORTER
Clayton Heights Secondary is ready to flick the switch for Earth Hour.

If the residents of Burns Lake can do it, so can we.

The northern B.C. town is still really cold at this time of year – unlike the balmy southern coast – but somehow Burns Lakers cut power consumption during Earth Hour by seven percent last year, the best in the province.

Earth Hour is the annual global event where people turn off lights and electronics for 60 minutes to conserve electricity.

This year it falls on Saturday, March 26. At 8:30 p.m., Surrey residents are encouraged to show their support for the fight against climate change by turning of their lights for 60 minutes. Plan to dine by candlelight, play board games or tell family stories.

Surely the people of Surrey can do better than the two per cent reduction in power during last year's Earth Hour, which admittedly was still better than the provincial average of 1.03  per cent.

In B.C., Earth Hour is sponsored by WWF and BC Hydro.

B.C. has set a target of meeting two-thirds of its electricity needs through efficiency and conservation by 2020, energy and mines minister Rich Coleman said.

"If everyone who participated last year turned off their unnecessary lights and appliances for just one hour every evening, the combined savings would be enough to power close to 2,200 homes for an entire year," BC Hydro president and CEO Dave Cobb said. "That's a goal worth exceeding."

Everyday ideas include washing clothes in cold water, turning off the heated dry function on dishwashers and turning down the heat by one degree to conserve electricity.

Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, when 2.2 million homes and businesses turned the lights off.

A year later, it spread to more than 50 million people across 35 countries, when well-known landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and Rome’s Colosseum stood in darkness. By 2009, more than 1 billion people participated in Earth Hour.

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