Canadians showed their support for action on climate change in record numbers by getting involved with Earth Hour. Canadians joined 134 countries and turned out their lights for WWF’s Earth Hour. In terms of participation per capita, Canada is one of the leading Earth Hour countries in the world. This year the 420 Canadian cities, towns and municipalities that participated represent 116 more than last year or a 38 percent increase. Another 73 universities and 30 major landmarks from across the country including the CN Tower, Parliament Buildings, Niagara Falls and the Lions Gate Bridge, took part in this year’s event.
Canadian participation in Earth Hour is a tangible demonstration of Canadian’s support for clean energy as the most effective solution to climate change. This message is particularly important in Canada as the country is currently one of the top 10 nations contributing to global climate change. In Canada, 36 percent of the national energy mix is from non-renewable sources.
With a federal election campaign underway in Canada, this is a timely message for political leaders and voters. Unlike the current leadership, Canadians understand that action on climate change must be a national priority.
The World Health Organization estimates that climate change is already causing more than 150,000 deaths a year. People can make a difference by demanding that their leaderships put forward policies that wean the country off fossil fuels and support renewable energy.
There are green energy alternatives that suit Canada’s geography. For example, as a nation with the world’s largest coastline, the ocean is capable of producing emission-free energy. If we were able to harness 0.1% of the energy in the ocean, we could support the energy needs of 15 billion people.
Despite the lack of green leadership at the federal level, Canadian cities are taking it upon themselves to do their part. WWF’s Earth Hour List highlighted the positive actions of Canadian municipalities to lower their greenhouse gas emissions. Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal emerged as Canada’s cleanest cities by going beyond the hour, (the theme for this year’s Earth Hour). These cities have the most active programs to reduce carbon emissions, promote renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation.
Check out WWF’s Energy Mix Map to see how your province’s use of renewable energy measures up against the rest of Canada.
Provincial leaders should heed the message of the Canadian people and work to reduce their environmental footprints. With a national election looming on the horizon, make sure you remind your federal candidates of the need for serious action to combat climate change.
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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