April 17, 2008 05:00 ET

Millions Say WWF's Earth Hour Is Just the Beginning

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 17, 2008) - A new poll commissioned by WWF-Canada shows that almost half of Canada's adult population participated in WWF's Earth Hour event on March 29, creating an unprecedented call to action on climate change. Poll results also show that 84 per cent of Canadians say the federal government should be doing more to fight climate change.

The global results of participation in Earth Hour show that Canada led the world in their commitment to personal action. Nationally, more than 150 cities and municipalities turned off the lights - the most in any country. Canada also led the world in global sign-ups with more than 130,000 people registering online at www.earthhour.org, which was just a fraction of the actual participation. Across the country 49 per cent of Canadians say they participated in Earth Hour, and in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) participation rose to 85 per cent.

The poll results also show that Canadian concern for climate change extends far beyond participating in Earth Hour. In the GTA, most people participated in Earth Hour to show support for action on climate change (79 per cent) and to express a commitment to take personal action (67 per cent). Seventy one per cent of those who participated say they are now more likely to reduce power consumption at home by at least 30 per cent to help fight climate change after Earth Hour.

"On Earth Hour, Canadians showed their frustration with inaction on climate change by turning off millions of lights and appliances. WWF-Canada has received letters, e-mails and now polling results from across the country showing that people are starting to walk the walk to a low-carbon lifestyle. Canadians are taking action both because they care deeply about the planet, and as a tangible message to governments and business to pick up the dismal pace on greenhouse gas reduction." says Julia Langer, Director, Global Threats, WWF-Canada.

Canadians also felt WWF's Earth Hour was effective in calling for global action: 74 per cent of Canadians say that Earth Hour is making a difference in raising global awareness of climate change and 60 per cent believe that Earth Hour is making a difference by putting pressure on world leaders to improve the environment.

The level of participation in, and awareness of, Earth Hour was highest in Toronto, where WWF-Canada promoted Earth Hour most heavily. In the GTA alone, there was a 98 per cent unaided awareness of Earth Hour, compared with 81 per cent nationally.

To help people make every hour Earth Hour, WWF-Canada launched a program called The Good Life at wwf.ca. The Good Life is designed to help Canadians take personal action to help fight climate change, and see the positive impact of their actions by tallying the total greenhouse gas emissions saved personally, provincially and nationally. Since Earth Hour, registration on the site has doubled.

The WWF network has already started planning for Earth Hour 2009. In the GTA, 87 per cent of those polled say they are likely to participate again, and spontaneous ideas and plans for weekly and monthly Earth Hour events have sprung up on social networking sites and are happening in homes and businesses across the country.

Meanwhile, to redress rising rather than declining emissions, WWF continues to press for greenhouse gas reduction policies and practical action in Canada and around the world, with a priority on energy efficiency requirements for buildings, appliances and cars; legally-binding caps on industrial pollution (instead of the intensity-based approach proposed by the federal government); and a new UN agreement that will ensure all countries collaborate in cutting global emissions in half.

The National Omnibus Poll was conducted by Angus Reid Strategies on behalf of WWF-Canada from March 31 to April 1, 2008, using an online survey among a randomly selected, representative sample of 1,005 adult Canadians. The GTA "Deep-Dive" Survey was also conducted online, among a sample of 1,002 residents of the Greater Toronto Area from March 31 to April 3, 2008. The margin of error for the total sample of both surveys is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. In both cases, the results have been statistically weighted according to Statistics Canada's most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a representative sample of the entire adult population of the target region (i.e., Canada and the Greater Toronto Area). Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. These surveys were conducted using the Angus Reid Forum online panel, which is recruited via an industry-leading process that incorporates a randomized, widespread invitation approach and a triple opt-in screening procedure.


1. Photos and backgrounders can be found at http://del.icio.us/wwfca

2. More results are available at www.wwf.ca/earthhour

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