Earth Hour needs to refocus campaign

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On Saturday, March 23, houses and businesses worldwide were encouraged to turn off all non-essential lights and appliances for one hour. The Earth Hour campaign, which seeks to cut down on electricity while simultaneously bringing awareness to our extreme use of power, and is a highly valuable action.

It becomes difficult to engage in this campaign however, when many citizens are not aware of when Earth Hour occurred. When it originated in 2007, Earth Hour marketed itself globally and became a successful way to establish environmental awareness.

This year, however, it seemed apparent that many people didn’t even realize it was Earth Hour until after it had already passed. This could be the reason as to why Ontario reported a less than 2.7 per cent drop in power usage in this hour.

While it is often argued that Earth Hour does quite little for actually saving the earth—and there is truth to this argument—the majority of its proponents maintain it functions more as a way to promote people to become more environmentally conscious.

There is certainly some credence to this argument as a grand gesture. An entire town or city going dark for an hour has the potential to get a lot of people’s attention. However, the general interest in the campaign appears to be dwindling and if this trend continues, Earth Hour is neither saving much actual energy, nor is it raising awareness.

A likely failing of this year’s campaign is perhaps that after many years of success, the campaign’s social media presence was lacking. Perhaps it is time the Earth Hour campaign finds additional, more effective streams of reaching out to the public; brainstorming new ways to raise awareness will help the event refocus and re-evaluate better ways to market themselves.

The Earth Hour campaign certainly has some potential and in its short history, it has seen some success. However, the campaign needs to find new and more effective ways of getting the public interested.

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