Ladysmith residents sign on to switch off for Earth Hour

Participants from across the province and around the world pledge lights-out for Earth Hour on Saturday, March 23.



The World Wildlife Fund might have named Vancouver as its 2013 Global Earth Hour Capital yesterday, but it was the province’s smallest communities — Ladysmith included — that posted the biggest drops in power use during last year’s Earth Hour event.

Fast forward one year and you find the Town of Ladysmith actively recruiting residents for participation in Earth Hour 2013 — scheduled to take place from 8:30 – 9:30 p.m. Saturday, March 23 — as it vies for a repeat of its top-tier 2012 performance. Ladysmith residents switched off their lights for one hour on March 31, 2012, leading to a 5.8 per cent drop in electricity consumption and earning the town a third-place rank among communities in British Columbia.

Local efforts were overshadowed solely by second-place Pemberton’s 6.8 per cent savings and Revelstoke’s gold-medal 12.1 per cent performance.

Neighbouring Duncan ranked eighth in the province with a 4.1 per cent drop.

Meanwhile, limited participation on the part of Vancouver residents produced a paltry 2.1 per cent reduction and a 52nd-place ranking last year. Onlookers expected more from a city vying to become the world’s greenest by 2020, and the city’s feeble efforts resulted in an Earth Hour so visually anticlimactic, it left spectators feeling disappointed.

In spite of last year’s mediocre performance by WWF’s new Global Earth Hour Capital, according to BC Hydro, British Columbians “saved 121 megawatt hours of electricity” during Earth Hour 2012, equivalent to “turning off about 9 million 12.5-watt LED light bulbs.”

Earth Hour made its debut in Sydney, Australia on March 31, 2007 when 2.2-million Sydney residents and 2,000 local businesses dimmed their lights for an hour as a show of support for action on climate change. The event made headlines around the world and an international movement was born. Globally, hundreds of millions of people from 7,000 communities in 152 countries from around the world participated in last year’s event, plunging some of the world’s largest urban centres into temporary darkness.

According to WWF Canada, participation in Earth Hour is a show of support for “urgent action on climate change,” a call to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy, and the adoption of policies aimed at balancing a healthy economy with the planet’s fragile ecology.

Participation involves little more than switching off any unnecessary lights for a single hour this coming Saturday.

For more information on Earth Hour and WWF’s efforts to expand the campaign beyond a single hour of darkness, visit http://earthhour.org/.