Lights to go out at Brock for Earth Hour

Brock University will power down for Earth Hour on Saturday, March 27 to shed light on the importance of energy conservation and raise awareness of climate change.

Brock annually turns its lights out, this year from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., to mark the global initiative, and the University encourages students, staff and community members to do the same.

Earth Hour was created in 2007 by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and is now practised all over the world to promote the fight against climate change. This small action of turning off non-essential lights may seem simple, but on a global scale it can deliver a powerful message to promote action towards a greener planet.

“Earth Hour has successfully raised awareness of climate change and the impact anthropogenic activities have on the planet,” said Mary Quintana, Director of Asset Management and Utilities. “We’re proud to join this initiative once again.”

Brock will turn off the lights of Schmon Tower, Roy and Lois Cairns Health and Bioscience Research Complex, and Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performance Arts, while also shutting down other systems across campus and conducting further setbacks.

Both before and after Earth Hour, Schmon Tower will be illuminated green to promote the cause.

Brock students can also use their Earth Hour participation towards completion of the Living Planet Leader certification with WWF-Canada.

“We are extremely excited to be able to offer students the chance to access opportunities like this certification, while at the same time allowing them to meaningfully engage with the environment around them,” said Amanda Smits, Centre Administrator at Brock’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC).

Students can register for the certification online and earn recognition for their Earth Hour participation through at-home sustainable actions, such as powering down computers and appliances, unplugging phone chargers to save energy, turning off lights, dressing for the season rather than heating or cooling the home more than necessary, leading or participating in an Earth Hour event and inspiring friends and family to adopt more sustainable habits.

While Earth Hour may look a little different this year due to COVID-19, additional activities may include candle-lit games with family or housemates, a ‘non-cook’ meal by candlelight, a homemade sock-puppet show by flashlight, hide-and-seek in the dark, or a campout in your backyard or living room with members of your household.

After Earth Hour has passed, participants are encouraged to share with their family and friends how they participated to promote discussion around sustainability.

On campus, Brock works hard every day to conserve energy and reduce its environmental footprint. Facilities Management has implemented many energy conservation strategies behind the scenes to decrease overall energy use, including:

  • Scheduling equipment shut-offs at night to reduce demand.
  • Reduced system output in various areas across campus trying to create the same environment with less energy used.
  • Weekend and unoccupied modes that have different setbacks, such as temperature changes.

“Brock continues to enhance its efforts on climate change mitigation through impactful projects like DEEP, but also by taking action every day to reduce our adverse impacts on the environment and advance our community’s sustainability,” said Scott Johnstone, Senior Associate Vice-President, Infrastructure and Operations. “Adjusting thermostats, turning lights off and recycling seem like small actions, but every bit counts towards a better future.”

The ESRC and Facilities Management, in partnership with WWF-Canada, encourage the Brock and wider Niagara community to participate in Earth Hour. Being mindful of the environment every day can start with small actions, which, in turn, can have a significant impact.

NOTE: This story was written in conjunction with Mikellena Nettos, a Master of Sustainability candidate and research assistant at Brock’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre.

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