Hey, Belleville, help save the planet!

Posted by on March 14, 2011 at 1:46 am.

Want to save the planet? Get your index fingers ready.

On March 26 at 8:30 p.m., residents and corporations all over the world will be shutting off their lights for 60 minutes.

Earth Hour is considered one of the biggest voluntary actions in history. According to earthhour.org, the website created by the World Wildlife Fund, in 2010 Earth Hour became the world’s largest-ever global climate change initiative.

Belleville residents say they might use the hour to do simple things they wouldn’t normally think of doing.

Ashley Ballenthin is just going to enjoy nature.

“I’d probably go take a walk and actually enjoy being outside,” says Ballenthin. “You’re so busy in the day that you never really appreciate outside.”

Alexa Hansen-Forson doesn’t have too much planned.

“I celebrate it very minimally,” said Hansen-Forson. “Like I’ve done in the past, by turning off all the power in the house.”

Hansen-Forson recognizes the value of Earth Hour: “I think it’s to raise awareness that things need to be cut back, at the rate our civilization is going.”

Businesses in Belleville are participating, dimming lights and signage.

“We shut off the road sign and shut off a lot of the lights in the hotel,” said Brad Williams, general manager of the Clarion Inn and Suites in Belleville. “The guests understand because the whole street does it and we just follow suit.”

At the Quinte Mall, exteriors signs are dimmed and individual stores are encouraged to turn off whatever lights they can. In the concourse, just enough lights are left on to keep things safe.

“We have participated in Earth Hour for the last two years and we will this year,” said Greg Taylor, general manager of the mall. “We encourage all the retailers to participate.”

In previous years Belleville’s green task force committee, headed by city councillor Tom Lafferty has encouraged residents and businesses to get involved with Earth Hour. The committee may plan to do the same this year but none of the members were available for comment.

Some question the validity of switching off lights for only one hour a year but the exercise is meant as a message.

“The main point of Earth Hour,” reads earthhour.org, “is to show the world that a solution to the world’s environmental challenges is possible if we work on them together.”

Earth Hour began in 2007, organized in Sydney, Australia, by the World Wildlife Fund. More than two million residents and businesses worked together to organize an hour of darkness.

The idea caught on and in 2008 and spread throughout the world, with 35 countries and 371 cities. There were an estimated 50 million individuals who turned out their lights.

By 2010, the number of participating countries and territories had ballooned to over 120.


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