The City of Surrey is one of three B.C. municipalities to reach the finals of the World Wildlife Fund's Earth Hour City Challenge, a worldwide contest to crown one city as the Global Earth Hour Capital.
The WWF has selected Surrey, Vancouver and Colwood as the only Canadian finalists of the challenge, which is designed to encourage the transition toward a renewable energy future. Seventeen cities in total are participating, all of which have taken impressive actions against climate change.
"It is a real tip of the hat to Surrey, considering that we're one of three finalists in all of Canada," said Coun. Bruce Hayne, who is also the chair of the city's Environmental Advisory Committee. "It really says a lot about what Surrey's been doing as far as environmental initiatives for the past several years."
Surrey's environmental initiatives will be judged by an international jury panel, taking into account sustainable development plans for energy and food systems, efforts in designing efficient transportation and innovative solutions that will make a city greener and cleaner.
The city will highlight such initiatives as the Rethink Waste Collection program, the construction of Canada's largest organic biofuel facility, the addition of 14 electric vehicle charging stations and Surrey's target to reduce emissions by 20 per cent by 2020.
"The City of Surrey has been implementing many new initiatives to reduce, measure, and report our greenhouse gas emissions, and we are embarking on a new carbon neutral strategy which will help us become more energy-efficient and reduce our carbon footprint," said Mayor Dianne Watts in a statement.
Jim Leape, international director general for the WWF, said in a statement, "The Earth Hour City Challenge clearly demonstrates that strong commitments at the local level can help reverse unsustainable trends."
The other 14 finalists include Cochin, Colmbator and Delhi in India; Forli and Siena in Italy; Arendal, Oslo and Stavanger in Norway, Malmö, Stockholm and Uppsala and Sweden; and Chicago, Cincinnati and San Francisco in the United States.
The Global Earth Hour Capital winner will be selected at a conference on March 19 in Sweden. Visit panda. org/citychallenge.