Huge turnout for Earth Hour under the stars
The lights were out but there was no shortage of energy among the crowd that turned out for a night of star gazing during Earth Hour festivities at Queen’s Observatory.
“This was the first year we’ve partnered with the Observatory, so expected attendance was only 30-40 people,” says Llynwen Osborne, Information Coordinator with Queen’s Sustainability Office. ‘We were surprised, but thrilled to have more than 200 people from both the Queen’s and Kingston community come out to the event.”
Participants packed the Ellis Hall auditorium to hear Observatory Coordinator Melanie Hall speak about light pollution and the importance of preserving darkness. Astronomy professor Stephane Courteau also provided guided lectures to groups in the observatory while people took turns viewing the night sky through the observatory’s telescopes.
“The overwhelming success of this year’s event has prompted us to begin planning for next year in order to better accommodate the large number of participants,” says Ms Osborne.
Although Earth Hour energy reduction was down slightly in some cities this year, Queen’s experienced an even better reduction than last year. Overall, there was a 3.8 per cent reduction in kWh consumed on campus during Earth Hour -- up from 3.2 per cent in 2009.
“To put it in perspective, this is the equivalent of turning off nearly 2500 60w light bulbs,” says Nathan Splinter, Energy Engineer with Queen’s Sustainability Office, who monitored campus power consumption levels for Earth Hour.