Earth Hour 2010 is a global effort led by the World Wildlife Fund to get people to turn off non-essential lights and appliances for one hour to draw attention to climate change. This year, millions of individuals and businesses worldwide will honour Earth Hour on Saturday, March 27 from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Here in Winnipeg, The Fairmont will shut its lights off for the hour like last year, and hotel guests will dine by candlelight.
Patti Regan, acting director of public works for the City of Winnipeg, said the city is getting involved for the third year in a row with four civic buildings confirmed to turn out non-essential lights. These buildings include City Hall and the Confederation Building at 457 Main St.
Next week the city will release a public service announcement making people aware of Earth Hour and climate change. There will also be outdoor signage on buildings and a wide range of posters at civic facilities encouraging Winnipeggers to turn their lights off. As other cities have done, they may film the lights being turned off at some locations to put on the Earth Hour website.
A representative from the Winnipeg Police Department expressed their support for Earth Hour, but they are “unable to shut off lights due to operational requirements.”
As for the University of Winnipeg, the lights are already low in the evening as there are “only security guards in the building.”
Taking to the streets, however, it was hard to find Earth Hour supporters.
“Turning your lights off for one hour isn’t going to make a huge difference. For a real change to occur, we have to change our lifestyles. It is really up to what you do every day that counts,” said Red River College student Nicki Dola.
Kyle Jahns, a communications student at the U of W, is also not too optimistic and said he won’t be observing Earth Hour.
“It does not achieve anything. Raising awareness is hardly necessary,” he said. “The world is already aware about climate change, so switching off the lights is almost meaningless.”