Editorial: Unplug during Earth Hour, or at any time

Earth Hour is this Saturday, March 24, from 8:30-9:30 p.m.

People in Nanaimo can start to make change just by flipping a switch.

Earth Hour is this Saturday, March 24, from 8:30-9:30 p.m. The initiative started as a one-off lights-out event in Sydney, Australia, to raise awareness about energy conservation, and now people worldwide flick off the lights during that hour every year.

B.C. Hydro tracks electricity usage in communities around the province, and some years it’s discouraging to learn that people hardly powered down at all during Earth Hour. But even if our neighbours aren’t interested in unplugging, any hour we spend considering our energy use is probably an hour well spent.

Hydroelectricity is a renewable energy source, but there are real impacts on the Earth that come with producing it. Anyone in B.C. is well aware of the $10.7-billion Site C megaproject in the Peace region, and while there are still questions as to whether that electricity is needed, it’s coming, and those costs are being shared by all taxpayers in British Columbians. The greater the efforts we make to lessen our energy needs, the better the chance the next generation can avoid sacrificing the land and wildlife habitat in exchange for our full complements of electronics and appliances.

The City of Nanaimo sent out a press release urging residents to participate in Earth Hour. The municipality is continuing a tradition of marking the occasion Saturday with a Starlight Skate, under passive LED lighting, from 7-9 p.m. at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.

Those who stay home in the dark might be able to find activities that can be done by candlelight – that’s sort of what’s become associated with Earth Hour.

Realistically, we’re past candle power, but we can and should consider other ways of conserving energy, for an hour and over the long term.

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