Despite the relative amount of sunlight left at 8:30 p.m. on March 23, Hay River went a little bit darker than usual as Earth Hour was observed.
More than 6,400 cities in 150 countries around the world took part in the event, which is not as much about saving energy but rather promoting better environmental awareness.
A few Hay Riverites, such as Kim Rapati, did their part by foregoing electricity.
She said it’s important to participate in Earth Hour because people need to remind themselves of how much energy they consume on a regular basis.
“Our society needs fundamental change and I hope the real message in Earth Hour isn’t lost in the idea that, if you participate once a year, it makes up for the excessive energy consumption that has become routine,” Rapati said. “If all the money and work that has been put into mining the tar sands to fuel America’s energy over-consumption was put into changing our lifestyle and investing in local solutions, we could actually start creating real change.”
According to a recent Canadian Geographic article on energy consumption, the NWT ranks third after Saskatchewan and Alberta as Canada’s highest per-capita energy consumers.
The magazine report also noted 81 per cent of energy in the NWT comes from petroleum, while 95 per cent of Prince Edward Island’s electricity comes from wind.
NWT residents also tend to drive larger, more energy-demanding vehicles.
The World Wide Fund for Nature has organized Earth Hour for the past six years.
Hay River resident Marina Marshall said Earth Hour provides a great opportunity to just sit and reflect on the variety of benefits we enjoy by living in the western world.
“Sitting in the dark, it’s easier to realize everything we have,” she said. “People around the world don’t get the privilege of enjoying the luxury of electricity, and all the great things it provides.”
The Eiffel Tower in Paris, Times Square in New York and the Kremlin in Moscow were some of the important landmarks to go dark for Earth Hour.
Michael Richardson of Hay River also took part in the event and said it provided a great opportunity.
“It gave Tiffany (his wife) and I a chance to chat uninterrupted,” he noted. “This doesn’t happen often.”
— Myles Dolphin