Students, faculty participate in energy conservation event

On March 24, millions of people around the world participated in Earth Hour. Guilford College students and faculty were among the participants.

Earth Hour is an annual environmental campaign that brings attention to climate change.  During the event, participants switch off lights at homes and businesses for an hour in support of protecting the planet. It aims for people to take responsibility to create a sustainable low-carbon future.

Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia. At the campaign’s beginning, approximately 2.2 million people turned their lights off to support climate change that year. By 2008, Earth Hour had become a significant global movement, with more than 50 million people in 35 countries participating. This year, 188 countries and territories participated. Nearly 17,900 landmarks and monuments also switched off lights.

Some global landmarks that have participated include the Sydney Harbor Bridge, the CN Tower in Toronto and Rome’s Coliseum.

“300 Paris buildings observed the blackout to send a universal message,” said Parisian Mayor Anne Hidalgo to the Los Angeles Times.

Alongside international monuments, Guilford College was involved in this worldwide event. Falling in line with Guilford College’s core value of stewardship, Guilford’s environmental and sustainability department encouraged participation in the event and weighed in on the importance and impact of Earth Hour.

“Earth Hour is a clever way to focus our attention on superfluous energy use. I like the idea of it, although I would be more inspired to see a 24-hour event,” said Visiting Lecturer for Environmental Studies Bronwyn Tucker. “We are going to have to use much more than symbolism to make real changes in our fossil fuel consumption.

“The longer the experience or simulation, the more real it might feel to adapt to the way we will need to live our lives without readily available and cheap fossil fuels. We’re all part of the problem, and cutting back on energy use is certainly a good place to start this progress.”

To prepare for next year’s Earth Hour, remember to mark your calendar for March 30.