Lights out: celebrating Earth Hour


It’s 8:29 p.m., on a Saturday and the lights are on.

One minute later . . . and the lights cut out.

For an hour.

Welcome to Earth Hour 2017.

Saturday, March 25 marked the 10th anniversary of Earth Hour.

It started with one city, Sydney, Australia, where 2.2 million people participated.

It has now spread to 187 countries and territories worldwide, with over 3,000 landmarks going dark.

Millions of individuals, businesses and organizations across the world have taken a step toward climate change.

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the creators of Earth Hour, the purpose or the goal of this hour is about creating impact. Their aims are to, “To stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which people live in harmony with nature, by:

  • conserving the world’s biological diversity
  • ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable
  • promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.”

Sheridan has participated in this event for several years.

The college showed their support for this hour by turning off the Trafalgar, Davis and HMC campuses non-essential lights and powering down mechanical equipment.

“Sheridan is migrating many of its electrical, mechanical and lighting systems to an automated system that is responsive to factors such as building occupancy,” said Anna Pautler, sustainability data assessment and reporting officer at Sheridan. “That means that Sheridan is going ‘Beyond the Hour’ to reduce our energy consumption year-round through our lighting and HVAC retrofits.”

Pautler explained that in the past, lights used to be controlled by a wall switch, which meant that they would typically stay on, unless someone turned them off.

“The Office for Sustainability encourages the Sheridan community to evaluate their personal carbon footprint,” she said.

Pautler explains how students can reduce and support this cause:

  • Turning off all lights and electronics when not in use is a great way to conserve energy
  • Take a look at the energy efficiencies of cars, electronics and appliances before buying
  • Extend the life of things you already own
  • Take alternative modes of transportation like the bus or even better walking or biking
  • Cut down on beef consumption
  • Bring reusable bags and containers whenever possible
  • Recycle
People could also change their profile frame to this, in support of Earth Hour 2017. (Photo courtesy of

Although it is celebrated annually for just one hour, the goal is to spark a movement that will last the other 364 days of the year.

If you missed the opportunity to coordinate an event for this Earth Hour, why not plan one for this upcoming Earth Day on Saturday, April 22?

The next Earth Hour will be March 24.