Sunday, March 30, 2008

Let There Be Dark


TOP: Toronto skyline, as seen at 8:27 p.m. on March 29, 2008. BOTTOM: Toronto skyline, as seen at 8:19 p.m. on March 26, 2008.

Participating in the World Wide Earth Hour, a campaign to bring awareness to the Climate Change brought by man, Toronto went Dark for an Hour or So and Hit the Target..This is the first year of its participation of the Earth Hour, which Started in Christchurch, New Zealand and Suva, Fiji 17 hours ago and will Culminate in Vancouver and San Francisco where the Lights are to go out at the Golden Bridge.

Just before 9 o’clock, the meter at the Toronto Hydro control centre hit a low of 2,738 megawatts - 5 per cent below the demand an hour earlier and about 8.7 per cent less than a typical late March Saturday night

Across the downtown, while most street-level storefront signs remained on, business logos atop high-rise office towers and hotels were dark, and lights blinked out in many condo windows.

Staff at the Sheraton Centre hotel apologized because technical problems delayed their participation, but they vowed to keep the lights out until 10 o’clock as compensation.

In Sydney, the event appeared to be at least as popular as last year, when 2.2 million people took part and electricity consumption fell by 10.2 per cent. This time, lights at the famous Opera House and Harbour Bridge were switched off and Australians held candle-lit beach parties, played poker by candle light and floated candles down rivers.

Australian energy officials said electricity consumption was down by 1,000 megawatts across the country, the equivalent of shutting down two large generating stations.

In Bangkok Thailand, some of the city’s business districts, shopping malls and billboards went dark, although streetlights stayed on. One major hotel invited guests to dine by candlelight and reported brisk business.

But for some reason or another, some countries and cities decided not to participate:

France, Germany, Spain and European Union institutions - planned nothing to mark Earth Hour.

That didn’t dismay organizers, who said there’s a powerful message in the fact that the usual powerhouse countries aren’t leading the way, and that even in wealthy places like Canada it’s very much a grassroots phenomenon.

“I’m just beginning to get a sense that this is a way of giving voice to a lot of people who don’t normally have a voice,” Andy Ridley, of WWF in Sydney, said a day before the event.

For details of the articles and Videos of the Earth Hour, it is here at the Toronto Star