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Earth Hour: What You Should Think About

03/26/2014 12:17 EDT | Updated 05/26/2014 05:59 EDT

As Earth Hour approaches (March 29, 8:30-9:30 p.m.), it's time to think about the future we want.

2014 will mark my eighth year of celebrating Earth Hour, which I helped introduce to Canada as Mayor of Toronto. I've always taken this hour to reflect on what is changing in the world around us, how climate change is affecting our communities and planet, and what we can do to make a difference. For me, Earth Hour has been a chance to step away from everyday activity and really think about both what is happening and what I'd like to see happen -- a future where climate change is no longer a threat. This year, we're asking you to share with us your thoughts on the future you want.

As Canadians, we know that climate change is real and it's not going away. We know that we -- human beings -- are causing it. The impacts are very serious and may only get worse. This is not the future we want, and it doesn't have to be the future we have -- because, as Canadians and as human beings -- we have a choice.

That's the idea we've chosen to focus on this year: using the 'moment of darkness' that Earth Hour gives us to think about the changes we're seeing and the changes we want to see. Moreover, Earth Hour is our chance to choose that better future, to stand up for what we believe in.

In Canada we have the skills, innovative drive and natural potential to develop and harness non-polluting energy. We simply need to choose to do it. Together with the University of Waterloo, WWF is choosing renewable energy by producing a science-based map of Canada that shows where it is possible, across our country, to produce renewable, low-carbon energy (an effort you can help us complete!)

We can choose the actions that give us both a healthy economy and a healthy environment, not just one or the other. Cities across Canada and around the globe are showing how it's done. Cities like Edmonton (recently named Canada's Earth Hour City Capital for 2014) are leading the way, with strategies to increase energy efficiency, reduce emissions and save money, while ramping up plans for renewable energy. Cities like Vancouver (last year's Global Earth Hour City Capital) are celebrated for their holistic and long-term vision on urban development, effort toward local city food systems and ambitious targets for government performance in reducing greenhouse gases.

All of this demonstrates that we're not stuck on a path to a high-carbon future. We can choose differently and we can act differently. This Earth Hour we've brought together Canadian voices -- from William Shatner to Roberta Bondar-- to inspire us to do just that. Now we want to shine the spotlight on you. Visit wwf.ca/earthhour to tell us what you'll be thinking about during your moment of darkness. Tell us about the future you'd like to choose for your family, your community and your country.

Here's the future I'd choose. I choose a future where climate change is no longer a threat. A future with clean air. With vibrant fields, forests, cities, rivers and oceans. A future full of life. And I believe that together, we can, and will act to make it possible.

Join me. On Saturday March 29, 8:30-9:30 p.m. millions of people will come together in their homes and neighbourhoods to celebrate Earth Hour. Wherever you'll be, whoever you are with- this is your moment to stand up and choose the future you want.

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