The Earth Hour movement certainly has the best of intentions. Each year on Saturday, March 28th at 8:30pm local time, people around the world turn off their lights and turn off as many power consuming devices as possible for one hour. More than 180 countries covering seven continents participate each year. The idea that everyone can make a difference is a noble cause indeed, but it appears that residents of British Columbia missed the memo. The results have been so paltry, BC Hydro has decided to no longer track electricity usage during Earth Hour, effective immediately.
So if you’re wondering how British Columbia performed this year of 2019 during Earth Hour, you should stop looking. BC Hydro says you can look in your online account to see power usage during Earth Hour and compare it to your previous year’s usage. Individuals looking up their own performance is hardly the intent of Earth Hour.
Friends might be able to talk amongst themselves about their impressive results, but posting results for an entire province is meaningful and would fetch media coverage that Earth Hour requires. The way it is now, the media has nothing to report about BC. These types of initiatives require involvement from the big players like BC Hydro in helping the movement.
BC Hydro has given their side of the story and it’s rather uncomplimentary. They say in 2018, the power consumption actually went up. BC Hydro also says in previous years, the decrease of power usage during Earth Hour in BC was insignificant and barely measurable. By not tracking performance in the future, the cynic might be thinking they are trying to hide the truth.
Could it be that all the marketing money put into the BC Hydro power saving and power smart advertisements are not having the desired effect? You would expect this ongoing messaging would result in greater awareness from the residents of BC. Earth Hour could be considered a measuring stick to see if all that marketing is having an effect on BC residents. In theory, Earth Hour should be the perfect opportunity for everyone to show that they care about the issue. But the results have been lackluster.
How about a different strategy from BC Hydro over this issue? Shaming can be a motivational tool and this may be a less expensive route than the BC Hydro power saving marketing campaigns. Hiding the collective performance of BC residents sends the wrong message. It’s defeatist.
Make this a source of embarrassment and don’t hide the indulgences of BC residents from the world’s view. Let the truth be known and give the people an opportunity to make it right. Imagine the bragging rights BC would have if they flip the script and use less power, not more during the 2020 Earth Hour! Make this a feel good story instead.
But alas, BC residents will no longer know the true story. Left in the dark about Earth Hour, thanks to the decision by BC Hydro. Ironic, isn’t it?