Richard Mitchell, associate professor of Child and Youth Studies, wrote an opinion piece, “Every hour is Earth Hour,” for the March 29 issue of the St. Catharines Standard.
When clocks around the world struck 8:30 Saturday night, millions of people turned off lights and other energy eating gadgets for 60 minutes, all part of the flourishing global support for the symbolic gesture that is Earth Hour.
In the three years since the World Wildlife Fund launched Earth Hour as a way to let people make a statement about climate change, participation has soared. That 2007 event, basically limited to Australia, saw more than two million homes and business turn off the lights to reduce consumption and embody a green attitude.
The next year Earth Hour went viral, and it is estimated that more than 50 million people participated. This year 105 countries and more than 200 cities formally signed on, and it is estimated that one of every seven people on the planet were moved to pull a plug or flick a switch. That’s more than a billion beople.
Sustainability has emerged as the defining issue of our era, and last November the Council of Ontario University Presidents reinforced this by announcing university communities are deeply aware of the challenges facing the world arising from climate change and the degradation of natural environment.
As co-chair of the Sustainability Co-ordinating Committee at Brock University, I’ve been asked to help promote this new tradition of shutting off the lights across campus. And as I do, I am reminded of something a student suggested to me — that, for anyone under 30, sustainability “is the human rights of the 21st century.”