Where were you on March 29 at 8 p. m.? For some, the answer will come without a moment’s hesitation. For others, the date and time will hold no significance.
I’m referring to Earth Hour, which was celebrated by Toronto, Vancouver and hundreds of other communities around the world. I participated in my own little way, by dimming the lights. Okay, my motivation may have had as much to do with avoiding the chagrin of my neighbours (most of whose homes were also dark) as making a statement.
And okay, I may have cheated a little bit – the Leafs game may have still been on my TV.
But hey, my little contribution was better than nothing at all, right?
If you were on the road that night, you may have been unable to take part in the symbolic gesture. I certainly hope no drivers were running down the highway without their headlights on in a misguided attempt to participate.
The energy saved during Earth Hour, although significant, is not enough to save the world. And I don’t think organizers of the event were foolish enough to think it would be.
Instead, it was a pretty successful effort to bring attention to the plight of our planet.
It’s amazing, really, that what started as a grassroots attempt to raise awareness was so widely publicized and so incredibly successful right around the world. Kudos to event organizers, the World Wildlife Fund.
The trucking industry could learn from these folks.
Over the last several years, the trucking industry has made remarkable progress in reducing its own environmental footprint. New technologies such as EGR, advanced aerodynamics, idle-reduction devices, particulate filters – have all combined to drastically reduce the emissions created by our industry.
These aren’t symbolic gestures, these are real, long-term solutions for reducing NOx and PM.
But how good a job have we done at communicating these success stories to those outside our industry? Does your neighbour know that an enviroTruck, to steal a term from the Canadian Trucking Alliance, is essentially smog-free?
Does the paperboy understand that the next round of emissions reductions coming down the line in 2010 will essentially eliminate NOx altogether? Does your local Member of Parliament know that the trucking industry has incurred billions of dollars in expenses to comply with each new round of emissions standards put forth by the Environmental Protection Agency?
As an industry, we need to do a better job at communicating our success stories to the general public. We have a great story to tell, and with environmental consciousness at an all-time high, we finally have an audience to tell it to.