Turn off, then turn on

The City of Nelson and Nelson Hydro are fully on board Earth Hour.

It started with a simple challenge in 2007 for Australians in Sydney to turn off their non-essential lights for an hour with hopes of engaging people on the issue of climate change. This Saturday, more than 7,000 cities and 152 countries will take part in Earth Hour.

Sitting around your house with candles lit on Saturday night will not cause a reverse of the climate change mess the planet finds itself in. Even if every single light on the planet was turned off on March 23, it would still only be a tiny drop in the bucket to what actually needs to be done to ensure a better life for future generations. But if you visit the Earth Hour website (earthhour.org), there are plenty of reasons to take part and it’s clear the movement is making a difference.

When the World Wide Fund for Nature (formerly the World Wildlife Fund) embarked on Earth Hour, it likely didn’t imagine it spreading across the globe so quickly. What started as a simple challenge to turn off lights has been cranked up to massive efforts to stem the impact of human damage on our environment across the planet.

In Uganda the movement has ramped up the fight against deforestation. In Russia, Earth Hour advocates had a hand in that country’s parliament passing a law to protect the country’s seas from oil pollution. In China, 84 mainland cities and over 7,600 businesses participated in 2012.

Without the heavy overtones of global destruction that sometimes come along with environmental activism, Earth Hour has made it easy to get involved. Of course more needs to be done, but the impact is growing each year.

The City of Nelson and Nelson Hydro are fully on board Earth Hour. Like other communities across Canada, the City is throwing out the challenge for small gestures (turning off lights between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Saturday night) and setting larger goals like switching to renewable energy.

There are few opportunities to become engaged in a true global movement. This Saturday night is your chance.