TORONTO [Peter Paul Media] — The City of Toronto’s electricity usage dropped seven percent during Earth Hour, the equivalent of 92,000 homes being taken off the power grid, Toronto Hydro said Saturday in a statement.
Toronto topped its previous year’s performance by nearly 10 percent as some of the city’s biggest venues powered down for the hour including the CN Tower, Rogers Centre, City Hall and Yonge/Dundas Square.
The Independent Electricity System Operator said Saturday that demand for electricity in Ontario dropped by 2.7 percent.
Over 7,000 cities participated this year with some even holding parties marking the event. From a rap concert in Benghazi, Libya to a free reggae concert in Kingston, Jamaica, people from all walks of life joined together for one cause.
Last year, 6,950 cities in 152 countries participated in the annual event.
“What is most important is the ever increasing extent to which Earth Hour’s supporters are participating in or taking actions themselves,” said Earth Hour CEO and founder Andy Ridley.
“Earth Hour is maturing from its origins as a consciousness-raising event in one city, to a global movement that is not just calling for change but is engaging in it,” he added.
The World Wildlife Fund [WWF] began Earth Hour in Australia where more than 2.2 million people participated in 2007. Toronto became the first city in the world to sign on the following year in 2008 when Earth Hour was held internationally.
Saturday marked the first Earth Hour Forest in Uganda—which hopes to fight the 6,000 hectares of deforestation in the country each month.
“We cannot afford to ignore this critical environmental threat we are facing today. So, we are calling upon every individual, business, government agency, friends and family members to join us in planting this new landmark for Uganda’s environment,” said David Duly, WWF Country Director in Uganda.
The United Nations—which turned off the lights at its headquarters in New York for one hour on Saturday—said all governments, businesses and civil society all have a part to play on climate change.
“We participate with an undimmed determination to take action on climate change,” said UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon.