March 03, 2010 05:30 ET

Only 1 in 5 Canadians Give Themselves an "A" When It Comes to Their Personal Environmental Efforts

WWF-Canada survey shows Canadians believe they can be doing more for the environment

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 3, 2010) - As a kick-off to Earth Hour 2010 (March 27, 8:30 – 9:30 p.m. local time), WWF-Canada released the results of a national survey that asked Canadians to grade their environmental efforts. Only 1 in 5 (18 per cent) Canadians gave themselves an "A" saying they're doing as much as they can to reduce their impact on climate change. However, 80 per cent say they are motivated to do more to reduce their personal and household impact.

"Earth Hour is a global celebration of our commitment to help fight climate change and reduce our individual footprint on the planet," says Gerald Butts, President and CEO, WWF-Canada. "The survey results clearly show that Canadians are motivated to do much more than the status quo. They are looking for ways to make every hour Earth Hour and WWF-Canada can help them."

Make Every Hour Earth Hour

Earth Hour serves as an annual reminder of what Canadians can do in their personal lives to help fight climate change. "Small actions have a big impact," says Butts. "From leaving the car at home, to washing clothes in cold water, to shopping with reusable shopping bags, there are many simple things Canadians can do."

Five easy things you can do to reduce your impact on the climate:

  1. Leave the car at home. If you have an errand to run close by or need to take the kids to school, consider walking instead of driving. You'll get more exercise and help the environment by reducing your carbon footprint. If walking is not an option, take public transit. Driving just 10 per cent less will save almost 600 kilograms in CO2 emissions over a year.
  1. Eat local. In Canada, almost 60 per cent of our food is imported and the average food product travels 2,000 km before it reaches your plate so next time you buy look for food grown close to home. It will be fresher and save harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
  1. Fly less. The next time you plan a trip, save the emissions associated with flying and have a fun, local vacation. Canada is a huge tourist destination so enjoy the nature and attractions right here at home. Cutting out just one overseas flight this year can save 2,600 kilograms of CO2 emissions.
  1. Be energy efficient. If you are buying a new appliance look for one with a high energy efficiency or retire the beer fridge. Refrigerators are one of the top energy guzzling appliances in the home. Updating your old model will save you about $120 a year on your energy bill and prevent about 240 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions.
  1. Become a role model and share your tips: From March 1 to 25, Canadians are invited to enter a national online contest by submitting a photo or video essay showing how they make Every Hour, Earth Hour. The grand prize winner will receive a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Churchill, Manitoba to first-hand how climate change is impacting people and species, like the polar bear. Complete rules and contest guidelines can be found at www.EarthHourCanada.org.

Corporate Leadership

While Earth Hour focuses on personal efforts to help fight climate change, it wouldn't be possible without corporate leadership. Some of the world's best known brands are switching off their lights and spreading the word in the business community.

"Business leaders such as Coca-Cola, Sears Canada, and the Toronto Star are helping to mobilize individuals and raise awareness about the need for personal action," says Butts. "As lead sponsors for Earth Hour, they have an incredible ability to engage employees, and reach customers and suppliers to help create a sustainable future for our planet."

About Earth Hour

Earth Hour is a global WWF initiative. Individuals, businesses, governments and communities are invited to turn out their lights for one hour on Saturday March 27, 2010 at 8:30 PM to show their support for action on climate change. The event began in Sydney in 2007, and has since grown into a global movement reaching more than one billion. In Canada, Coca-Cola, Sears Canada, and the Toronto Star are the lead sponsors. www.EarthHourCanada.org

About WWF-Canada

WWF-Canada (World Wildlife Fund Canada) is a member of WWF, one of the world's largest independent conservation organizations, active in more than 100 countries. WWF is creating solutions to the most serious conservation challenges facing our planet, helping people and nature to thrive. In Canada, we create solutions to conservation issues important to Canadians and the world. WWF-Canada works collaboratively with governments, businesses and the public to help fight climate change, the single biggest environmental threat to our planet; conserve our oceans and freshwater resources; and educate and mobilize people to build a conservation culture. WWF-Canada's main office is in Toronto, with regional offices located in Vancouver, Prince Rupert, St. Albert, Ottawa, Halifax and St. John's. For more information, visit wwf.ca.

This news release and associated material can be found on wwf.ca

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