Kairos urges Canadians to power down for Earth Hour

Published March 18, 2009

The Connelly-Miller family light their candles at last year’s KAIROS Earth Hour worship service at the Church of the Holy Trinity in downtown Toronto.

What are you doing on March 28 at 8:30 p.m.? Kairos, an ecumenical social justice organization, is calling for Canadians to observe Earth Hour “as a symbolic pause to reflect on our use of fossil fuels, to think about the impact of our activity on people and ecosystems around the world, and most importantly, to pledge to make a difference – as individuals, communities, and as a nation.”

In 2008, 50 million people in 370 cities and towns, in more than 35 countries worldwide switched off their lights for Earth Hour.

In recent months, bad economic news has overshadowed environmental issues, but hundreds of leading scientists  gathered in Copenhagen last week to update the findings of a 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and issued a dire warning. “The worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories (or even worse) are being realized,” the scientists said in a statement. “There is a significant risk that many of the trends will accelerate, leading to an increasing risk of abrupt or irreversible climatic shifts.”

This year, Kairos is also focusing on the links between fossil fuels and human rights and conflict. “The connections between oil and conflict are seen around the world. In 2007, almost half of Canada’s oil imports came from conflict-zone countries and countries with governments engaged in human rights violations, such as Algeria, Angola, Iraq, Nigeria, Indonesia, Colombia, and Ecuador,” according to Earth Day information provided on the Kairos Web site, www.kairoscanada.org/

If you want to do something more than a private lights-out in your own home for Earth Hour this year, Kairos – a partnership of 11 churches and church-related organizations including the Anglican Church of Canada – suggests holding an Earth Hour service in your church. An online worship service guide, including hymn suggestions, can be found at www.kairoscanada.org/en/get-involved/earth-hour/

Other ideas include hosting a PowerDown Day, committing to going without using fossil fuels or fossil fuel-powered electricity for one 12-hour day, raising awareness in your community by running ads in newspapers or posting them on blogs, or  taking part in Kairos’s Carbon Sabbath Initiative – a way for individuals and groups to track and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.


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