Turn Your Lights Down Low

One of my classmates recently blogged about the lack of local festivities held for Earth Hour here in Vancouver. The event had taken place last week, on March 23. To be honest, I had completely forgotten about the event, despite participating for the past couple of years (maybe because it was on the same day as our Grad dinner…oh, priorities). After reading my classmate’s blog post, I found an article that said the City of Vancouver was named this year’s Earth Hour capital of the world! Isn’t that ironic? I wonder if this title holds any real value, considering the popularity of Earth Hour seems to have died off in recent years (at least in the opinion of two, busy students taking COMM 486F!).

Photo Credit: Vancity Buzz

Well I dug a little deeper, and found this news release from BC Hydro. Apparently, this year’s Earth Hour produced strong results, with British Columbians saving 136 megawatt hours of electricity, and reduced the provincial electricity load by 1.95% during the hour, which is the equivalent of turning off more than 10 million LED bulbs. Impressive! I retract my skepticism!

Ultimately, this all boils down to marketing sustainable behaviour  something we’ve talked about throughout the term. One interesting fact about this year’s Earth Hour is that Vancouver was actually “outperformed” by Vancouver Island communities, namely Comox and Courtney. How is that possible? Vancouver- you’re the Earth Hour capital! Well, arguably, it’s easier (though I say that with minor hesitation) to round up the troops, so to say, in these smaller communities, and get that public commitment necessary for altering behaviour  compared to the metropolitan that is Vancouver.

Here’s another idea to marinade over: Could the lack of Earth Hour festivities be seen as having other, more positive, implications? Maybe we’ve actually integrated energy saving practices into our everyday lives more than before (AKA, we’re turning our lights down low before and after Earth Hour). That’s quite a stretch, but it’s definitely worth mentioning. The whole point of Earth Hour is to not only turn off those lights for 60 minutes one Spring evening, but be mindful of energy consumption every other day of the year. BC Hydro does a great job marketing sustainable behaviours with the different elements of their integrated marketing communications (video, print, online, offline, etc.).

28. March 2013 by obernard
Categories: Uncategorized | 1 comment

One Comment

  1. Earth Hour has always captured my attention, and especially with events on campus like the Common Energy Earth Hour event – I find that there is a draw towards Earth Hour in Vancouver – but I am curious about the lack of festivities about this once in a year event that you brought up.

    This year however, I was intrigued by a comment my one of my professors brought up in a conservation class. We were talking about conserving energy, and someone asked him what he thinks about Earth Hour. His response was “I hate it!”. I was surprised at how a person who was so environmentally focused could possibly hate Earth Hour. But his point was that WWF puts so much effort into marketing the event every year, but the novelty factor was lost after the first two years. He argues that more can be done with the amount of attention and money put into it – such as pushing for policy change and conservation tools during that hour. He believes that Earth Hour will stop having a profound effect for one hour of the year, but instead, we need greater change to come. I have to admit, that’s a side I haven’t considered before.

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