Edmontonians Brave Cold for Earth Hour Switch-off
March 27, 2011
Despite unseasonably cold temperatures and an NHL game where the Edmonton Oilers were trying to play spoilers against rival Calgary Flames, a small crowd of about 170 hearty Edmontonians attended the Earth Hour celebration outside City Hall Saturday night, leading up to the official power down.
Across Edmonton, the weather is said to have played a part in cooling participation in the event as more people pursued activities at home. The city saw a 1.01% rise in power usage during Earth Hour, as compared to the same time last week.
But event organizer Brad Curtis said he was pleased with the media coverage and participation of many homeowners and businesses in the one-hour act of environmental responsibility.
“It would have been nice to see a drop in the power use but I think the important part is that Earth Hour gets people talking about climate change and their personal impact on the environment. That’s all the really matters,” said Curtis, Earth Hour Coordinator and Office of Environment co-op student.
Earth Hour is a symbolic event that demonstrates that relatively simple behaviours that individuals make (switching off lights and power when not in use) for one hour, could translate into significant impact if they become regular practices of all citizens, throughout the year. This is the fourth year Edmonton has participated in the international event that began in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, as a way to focus on energy consumption and the impact on climate change.
"It's great to see Edmontonians starting to get involved in environmental events like Earth Hour,” says Councillor Don Iveson at the City Hall event. “Since taking care of the environment is everyone's responsibility, it's important that we all learn more about the issues and decide what we can do to reduce our personal impact on the environment."
The chilly pre-Earth Hour event at City Hall featured entertainment by the Edmonton and District Pipe Band, Booming Tree Drummers, Nikolia the Fire Juggler, and Kip the Court Jester. Then Councillor Iveson helped Avery Sides from Caernarvon School flip a giant light switch to turn off the lights of City Hall, and nearby Chancery Hall and Century Place. Avery won a contest to flip the switch by suggesting ways that students can do in the classroom to help the environment.
City of Edmonton facilities also took part in the event by dimming lights, turning off electronic equipment or shutting down non-essential equipment in recreation facilities, offices, fire halls, City Hall and all City-owned buildings. The results of the City of Edmonton’s energy decrease will not be available for several days.
According to EPCOR, the rest of the city used 1058.15 megawatts of power during Earth Hour, a 1.01% rise over the same day and time last week. EPCOR reports that the cold temperatures could have impacted power usage numbers.
For more information please visit www.edmonton.ca/EarthHour