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Just like Earth Hour, held in March, National Sweater Day comes as a reminder of what we can comfortably do without – “comfortably” being the operative word here.

In this burgeoning campaign – and largely a symbolic gesture – to turn down the thermostat today, Feb. 7, Sweater Day champions aren’t asking people to suffer spartan conditions.

No indeed. Put on a sweater. Stay cozy. But turn down the heat two degrees for the day at work and at home as a reminder of what people can do to conserve energy and commit to environmental initiatives.

In New Glasgow, the town is sponsoring some fun contests involving prizes in conjunction with the day – learn more on Facebook and the town’s website.

The day got its start in 2009, with WWF and Loblaw as sponsors, encouraging Canadians to join in and help raise awareness about energy consumption.

Like Earth Hour – with lights out – it’s obvious no single household will realize noticeable savings through such an effort. Even for an entire community or province it might represent a blip in lowered total energy use. But as organizers estimate, if Canadians generally lowered the heat by 2C through the winter it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by four megatons each year. And they’d save money.

Some people already are in tune with turning down the thermostat – and keeping a sweater handy – for those many times when it makes sense. Anytime is fine, but the more obvious occasions are through the night while tucked in bed, when heading out somewhere, maybe even while active with chores around the house and you’re close to working up a sweat.

There are those as well who can’t turn down the heat much, who through whatever physical makeup or medical condition can’t take the chill.

But most people can, and some just need a reminder to turn it down when not needed and maybe most of the general run of a day. It’s surprising how easy it is to get used to a minor change – especially if you’re dressed for it.

Organizations: WWF, Loblaw

Geographic location: New Glasgow

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