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Canada's Role In Earth Hour

March 29, 2010 — Millions of people across Canada supported the campaign on climate change on Saturday night. The lights powered down between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. local time and the country plunged into darkness. Click the video on the left to see Terry Young of the IESO explain the overall purpose of Earth Hour.

It was a night of candles, board games and outdoor concerts -- all in an effort to better the planet.

Over the weekend, hundreds of thousands of Canadians participated in Earth Hour. Landmarks including Halifax Harbour, Toronto's CN Tower, Ottawa's Parliament Buildings, and the sails atop Canada Place in Vancouver went dark.

And then there were the concerts, including the Toronto show headlined by Chantal Kreviazuk at Yonge and Dundas Square. Crowds watched as the bright billboards turned off and tied their environmental hopes to a wishing tree.

Others across the country celebrated with parties in the dark, candlelight vigils and stargazing. Event organizers at the World Wildlife Fund said that more than 300 Canadian cities and municipalities registered to take part in the campaign -- more than any other country around the world.

According to Toronto Hydro, there was a 10 per cent drop in power during Earth Hour. Last year, the city dropped to 15.1 per cent. The province saw an overall drop of 4 per cent, using 560 megawatts less energy. That's enough to power the city of Brampton.

The ISEO says the weather may have had something to do with this year's smaller drop in energy consumption. It was colder this year than last, meaning more people may have been blasting their heat.

Still, WWF Canada says the goal of Earth Hour is not simply to reduce power for one night. They say the idea is to get people changing their daily usage habits and to become more aware of global warming and how it's affecting the earth.

The big event is now officially over, but below are a few ideas from WWF Canada on how to make every hour 'Earth Hour.'

  • Leave the car at home. Consider walking instead of driving. You'll get more exercise and reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Eat local. Your food will be fresher and will minimize harmful emissions.
  • Fly less. Enjoy a local vacation close to your home.
  • Be energy efficient. Opt for home appliances with a high energy efficiency. They're better for the planet and will help you save money.
  • Use green power. Research if there are green energy providers in your area that provide your home with power generated from renewable energy sources.
  • Get a home energy audit. It will show you how your home uses energy and where you can make improvements. It could result in hundreds of dollars in energy savings each year.
  • Hang dry your clothes. Instead of using your energy-guzzling dryer, hang your clothes outside or in your laundry room.
  • Unplug unused appliances. Electrical devices draw energy even when they're not switched on.
  • Tell your local official. Write a letter or email outlining your concern about the environment to your local elected official.

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