Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Earth Hour 2011

Don’t ya just think it is the most ridiculous thing when you watch people being interviewed on the news saying, “I don’t see the importance of Earth Hour cuz really the amount of energy saved during that hour is so small it’s insignificant.”

Earth Hour is not designed to ‘save’ energy and ‘save’ the environment. It is not a solution to the fact that our global civilization consumes and wastes enormous amounts of energy every day. It will not stop the production of another eleven nuclear reactors this year.

Earth Hour is a growing movement of concerned human beings who are simply stating, “We know that our want for energy is grossly extravagant and environmentally unsound and although we may not have the solutions to these problems right now, we are uniting to inspire each other to begin a process of change!” Well… maybe that statement is a bit more profound than simple, now that I think about it.

Earth Hour is a pioneering philosophy that is changing the future for mankind… and I was a small part of it! And so were over one billion people from 134 countries. And so were 90% of the students who ride The Peacebus!!!

A week before Earth Hour was to take place, I asked the students of The Peacebus if they would like to create some artwork for the bus, inspired by this event. Many said they would… and they did!!!

I was so amazed with all of the designs that were created that I went to visit the principal for one of the schools to show and share these artworks. He was very impressed with his students’ dedication to this art! He scanned the images and may very well use these artworks to create posters for the school for next year’s event.

When the students boarded The Peacebus, after the event, I asked them what kinds of things they did during that hour. Many of the students told me that they played board games, like Monopoly and Scrabble, with their parents, surrounded by candlelight. Some went outside to play soccer or ball toss with their neighbourhood friends. Some students simply lit candles and spent the hour talking with their parents.

One group of students told me that a few of them got together and danced while another friend played an acoustic guitar. I thought that this was great cuz that’s what Joanne and I did for our hour – minus the dancing. Jo’ lit some candles and we spent the first while enjoying a bit of quiet that was quickly broken as our pets wanted us to play… so we did. After twenty minutes I picked up my guitar and quietly played for another hour or so.

I had pulled up to one of the bus stops and a mom was waiting to pick up her daughter who is in JK – Junior Kindergarten. She came up to me and told me that she thought my idea for creating Earth Hour art for the bus was great! She told me how my idea helped to inspire her idea. She told me that she and her daughter had dug a small hole in their back flower garden and that they had put a balled up piece of paper, a not used diaper and some apple cores in the hole and buried it. She said that in two months they will dig everything up to see what is composting and what is not.

I think that it is amazingly great that so many parents involved themselves in all of these activities, uniting families and friends towards a common goal… understanding our place within the natural world!!!

While I was preparing this blog story, I did a little ‘googling’ to see what had happened in the rest of Canada. I found this enjoyable video on youtube that really helps to put this event into a global perspective –

I also came across several reports that both delighted and upset me a little. I really didn’t enjoy reading that some think Earth Hour is a dying fad that never became a fad. I really enjoyed reports that stated that one of Canada’s provinces – New Brunswick – had the most successful Earth Hour to date.

Here’s what else I learned about Canada’s participation in Earth Hour 2011…

New Brunswick
It was New Brunswick's most successful Earth Hour to date, according to NB Power. Electricity consumption decreased by 24 megawatts, which is the equivalent to seeing 480,000 lights turned off in the province.
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia Power claims the province saved 18 megawatts of power.
Prince Edward Island
P.E.I.'s numbers were less impressive than last year's. Only about 2,200 islanders participated, in stark contrast to the 21,000 who took part in 2009.
Is it fair to blame the cold? Below-seasonal temperatures in Toronto are the excuse for a four per cent drop in energy consumption as compared to six per cent last year.
Note to Earth Hour organizers: Promote the event in Manitoba next year. Not only did Manitoba Hydro not track participation; most Manitobans surveyed had little idea as to what Earth Hour was.
A two per cent drop in Saskatoon points to more substantial participation than in previous years.
Despite the energy-saving competition between Calgary and Edmonton, the minor blip in energy reduction in Calgary is barely countable. In Edmonton, power consumption actually increased.
British Columbia
B.C. saw 117 megawatts of power saved over the course of one hour. That's a 1.04 per cent drop in the province's electricity load, and less of a dent made in both 2009 and 2008.

“Making positive change for future generations,” is a statement that has evolved into an explosive amount of action over the last few years, as more and more people are becoming aware that the actions needed to create our future need to be voluntary. Many of the minor shifts in governmental policy, marginal adjustments to ongoing programs and moderate improvements in laws and regulations are all forms of appeasement, designed to satisfy the publics desire to believe that sacrifice, struggle and a wrenching transformation of our societies will not be necessary.

The participants in Earth Hour 2011 have come to these realizations and by committing ourselves and our spirit to positive inspirations such as this we will influence others to realize that we are our only allies in the ‘war’ against pollution and greed as we struggle to evolve to a more peaceful stage of human existence.


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