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Environment and Conservation
Natural Resources
March 27, 2009

Government Encouraging Darkness for One Hour March 28

On Saturday, March 28, at 8:30 p.m., residents of Newfoundland and Labrador are encouraged to observe Earth Hour by turning off their lights to raise awareness about climate change and make a personal commitment to taking action.

"We know that this one hour wonít stop climate change, but it will demonstrate that our individual actions are extremely important and make a difference," said the Honourable Charlene Johnson, Minister of Environment and Conservation. "Everyone can participate in Earth Hour and itís as simple as turning off a switch, literally. We can participate alone or with family and friends. The important message is that we need to participate."

The World Wildlife Federation (WWF) created Earth Hour in 2007 to encourage individuals to take action on climate change and send a message that they want meaningful emission reductions through the establishment of greater policies and regulations. Last year, almost 10 million Canadians turned off their lights during Earth Hour. Earth Hour has grown from a single event in Sydney, Australia, in 2007 to a global phenomenon across six continents in 2008.

"Observing Earth Hour is a personal commitment to reducing our environmental footprint and to encouraging the same level of commitment from government," said the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Minister of Natural Resources. "Conservation of energy also protects our environment and this event allows us to do that while mobilizing people to taking global climate change action."

The success of Earth Hour is measured through participation. To do this, the WWF will look at online sign-ups and conduct post-event polling. Hydro companies around the country will also measure the impact on the electricity grid, and households and businesses can measure usage by comparing energy bills. The dollar amount saved and the average daily usage in kilowatt hours (kWh) can serve as indicators by comparing them with previous energy bills.

Minister Johnson said that government has demonstrated its commitment to climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions in Budget 2009. "We allocated $1.3 million in this yearís budget towards the development of the necessary tools, policies and strategies to help communities in our province assess and adapt to climate change impacts," said Minister Johnson. "This also includes the establishment of a new Climate Change Office to provide policy development and analysis on climate change, energy efficiency and emissions trading. This truly speaks to our focus on this important environmental challenge."

For more information on Earth Hour, please visit www.earthhourcanada.org

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Media contacts:

Melony OíNeill
Director of Communications
Department of Environment and Conservation
709-729-2575, 689-0928
moneill@gov.nl.ca
Tracy Barron
Director of Communications
Department of Natural Resources
709-729-5282, 690-8241
tracybarron@gov.nl.ca

2009 03 27                                                      10:30 p.m.
 


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