An hour for the Earth

Members of the community talk about their plans for this year’s Earth Hour and why it’s important

Earth Hour this year falls on March 31 and will be marked from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. all around the world.

Back in 2007, Earth Hour began in Sidney, Australia, where the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) organized the event to demonstrate how everyone can make a difference, from all walks of life, and how when many individuals do something small, it can make a big impact.

The lights went off that first night, across the city, from the skyscrapers, to neighbourhood homes to the iconic Sydney Opera House.

The event made an impression, and then the city of Toronto signed up to take part in 2008, and the event became a global phenomenon.

In 2011, more than 5,200 cities in 135 countries participated in Earth Hour and the WWF still keeps building on it to continue to show “how great things can be achieved when people come together for a common cause.”

The Courier found a few of the people in our community who will be observing Earth Hour and asked them: Will you be celebrating Earth Hour this year? What will you be doing? Why do you consider it important?

Jolene Prince, maternal child health coordinator for Nak’azdli Health


She and her family will be observing the event.

“For sure … anything for Mother Earth.”

Prince will be unplugging unnecessary electrical appliances such as televisions and computers and instead engaging with her family.

“Candlelight is awesome.”

“I will definitely find some games for the kids to play in the dark.”

“I think this would be a very good time … for family bonding.” She said families nowadays can forget how to play together as a family and we become so wrapped up in technology we forget about bonding with each other and about connecting with Mother Earth.

She said she is going to look for candle lanterns to release with her family as a symbolic and beautiful way “release your technology for the day.”

Why is it important?

Prince said we need to give Mother Earth a little time to heal and regenerate because after all the damage we are doing to her, “she’s going to come back and bite us.”

It is an opportunity to return to the traditional connection with Mother Earth of the Yinka Dene, to help recognize the importance of using power wisely and to create awareness.

Emily Colombo, economic development officer for the District of Fort St. James


Colombo will be observing Earth Hour, and is planning to attend an Earth Day party at a friend’s house where she and her friends will sit with the lights off and eat raw food.

“I’m also hoping to plant some seedlings for my garden this summer that day,” she said.

“I think it’s important to remember the Earth all the time … but Earth Hour is good because at least it makes people stop to think about it for a little while.”

Russ Gingrich, Councillor for the District of Fort St. James


“We definitely will participate,” said Gingrich.

He also emphasized some of the everyday practices which he does to make a difference such as using solar lights or motion sensor lights in the yard.

Drying clothes on a line instead of in the dryer is another way Gingrch’s household saves energy everyday.

“It not only saves energy, it saves money.”

“It’s a good thing and I feel good about it.”

Renada Walstrom, community nurse at Nak’azdli Health


During this year’s Earth Hour, Walstrom will be driving from Abbotsford over to Kamloops.

To help keep the earth in mind, Walstrom will be packing a lunch to avoid having to stop at a fast food outlet which would require more energy, and will be thinking about things she can do through the day.

Walstrom considers the event important in order to help in “minimizing the footprint on Mother Earth because there is so much devastation already – every little things makes a difference” and says it helps role model for the youth.

“There’s limited resources.”

Lynn George, Greening up Fort St. James board member and teacher

“We always turn out our lights,” and this year will be no different for George and her family.

She plans on taking her dog for a walk and seeing if she can find a campfire at a neighbours house to visit at.

“I think it’s important the world realizes how much energy they use every in one hour.” “Awareness, awareness, awareness.”

To learn more about Earth Hour, or get ideas for activities or games to do while the lights are out, go to

Electricity for lighting accounts for almost 20 per cent of electricity consumption and six per cent  of CO2 emissions worldwide. The demand  could grow by 60 per cent by 2030 if not checked, according to the UN Environment Program.