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Near miss for Rossland in Earth Hour contest

Rossland missed winning Fortis BC’s Earth Hour Pledge contest by a filament, but there are still three weeks left to nominate individuals, groups, or small businesses for Earth Day Canada’s $10,000 Hometown Heroes awards before the deadline on Earth Day itself, April 22.

The Earth Hour Pledge encouraged people to promise to switch off their power for an hour on March 26, at 8:30 p.m. as part of a global movement initiated by the World Wildlife Fund to raise awareness on energy conservation.

Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million homes and businesses turned their lights off for one hour. This year, the AAP reported that “billions” in 133 countries took part.

Fortis BC’s contest pitted community against community, from Creston to Keremeos, to see which community would get the greatest proportion of its citizens to make the pledge and follow through.

Just more than six per cent of Rosslanders made the pledge, which put us in a tie for second place with Kaslo and Crawford Bay. With more than seven per cent participation, Keremeos took the $5,000 prize that will be used for energy upgrades to their Legion, Branch No. 192.

In Rossland, the Rock Cut Pub served dinner by candlelight, while the hundreds in attendance at The Gathering in the Miners’ Hall were encouraged to get touchy feely in the dark by host Mitch Scott.

Almost three per cent of Castlegar’s population mobilized, roughly two per cent in Salmo, just more than one per cent in Nelson, and a little less than that in Trail. Grand Forks and Kelowna were at the bottom of the heap.

Across the region, Fortis BC reported “electricity consumption dropped by approximately one per cent, or 3.58 megawatts, during Earth Hour — equal to switching off about 60,000 incandescent light bulbs.”

Eco-contest attention has now turned to Earth Day nominations for the Hometown Hero awards.

These awards give “grassroots recognition” to the people who overcome environmental obstacles and engage others in support of a sustainable community, said Emily Lu, the program’s coordinator.

She said the program gives Canadians a chance to “recognize and celebrate environmental leaders — whether an individual, group, or small business — who foster meaningful long-term community awareness and action.”

The $10,000 award for individuals is split 50-50, with half of the award donated to an environmental cause of the recipient’s choice.

The $10,000 group award is given to support their work, while the small business award is an all-expenses paid trip to a professional development course, workshop, summit or conference focused on environmental sustainability or conservation in Canada.

Earth Day was founded by Denis Hayes and Gaylord Nelson (A U.S. governor) in 1970. Earth Day Canada is a national environmental charity founded in 1990 that strives to keep Earth Day close to its roots and ward off attempts by businesses to co-opt the event to “green-wash” their products and services to increase profits.

To this end, the group has trademarked both “Earth Day” and “Jour de la Terre” in Canada.

Jed Goldberg, president of Earth Day Canada, said the day was founded “to raise awareness of the impact of our actions on the environment and to inspire solutions to help lessen these impacts. Over the years it has

become the third-most recognized celebration day of any kind by children across Canada as well

as the second most recognized environmental brand in Canada.”

To nominate a person, group, or business for the Hometown Hero Awards, download the nomination package from www.earthday.ca/hometown and submit it before Earth Day on April 22.

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