The lights went out at Mount Allison University on March 19, but it wasn’t a blackout. The university was just getting a head start on the growing “Lights Out” event, which takes place on Earth Day, April 22.
Mount Allison student Keleigh Annau is the force behind Lights Out Canada. She founded the initiative in 2005 when she was just 16. On Earth Day, schools are encouraged to turn off their lights, and in return, Lights Out Canada provides educators with educational materials on climate change. It has grown into an international event with over 125 000 participants in ten countries.
Keleigh’s hard work organizing Lights Out Canada and other impressive accomplishments were recognized in 2008 when she was awarded with top prize of the Toyota Earth Day Scholarship Program. At Mount Allison, she is majoring in International Relations with a double minor in Economics and Environmental Studies.
Keleigh is an ongoing supporter of the work of Earth Day Canada. She has integrated tips and activities from the EcoAction Teams program into Lights Out Canada lessons plans and even started her own EcoAction Team at Mount Allison. This year, Keleigh is again challenging the Mount Allison community to sign up and commit to action on the EcoAction calculator tool.
With 90 members and growing, Keleigh’s team is one of the top savings team in the program! Mount Allison students, staff, and faculty collectively committed to saving 4 949 884 litres of water, 20 517 kg of waste, 192 347 kg of Greenhouse Gas, $20 858.23 in energy costs, and 305 611 kWh of energy.
But it doesn’t stop there. Keleigh is developing a Lights Out Challenge where schools will compete to reduce their energy consumption (and Lights Out Canada will calculate their reductions in carbon dioxide emissions) as well as to see who can raise the most funds to subsidize their school’s energy use with clean sources of electricity.
Keep up the great work Keleigh!