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Let’s Talk About Earth Hour

March 28, 2008

Tomorrow, March 29, from 8-9pm is Earth Hour (aptly named because Earth Day was already taken and the holiday only lasts 60 minutes).  

The event-intended to draw attention to climate change and energy conservation–started last year in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million people and 2,100 Sydney businesses turned off their lights for one hour. That hour of darkness resulted in a reduction of 24.86 tons of CO2 (the equivalent of taking 48,613 cars off the road for one hour). This year, Earth Hour is going global; hundreds of cities around the world from Aaegina, Greece to Yass Valley, Australia have signed on to participate. There are 35 flagship cities in the US, including Atlanta, Chicago, Phoenix and San Francisco. Toronto is taking the lead in Canada. 

Ready to celebrate, but not sure how? Turn off your lights. What if you’re not at home? Don’t worry, plenty of restaurants will be participating and lots of cities will hold special events (like the free Nelly Furtado concert in Toronto). And what if you’re home, but don’t feel that candlelight provides an appropriate ambiance for your evening activities? Then turn every hour into Earth Hour:

  · switch to CFLs

  · unplug chargers and appliances like toasters and electric toothbrushes when not in use 

  · plug your tv and computer into power strips that you can switch off (so you avoid the hassle of unplugging them every time you turn them off) 

But is that truly celebrating Earth Hour? Is Earth Hour about darkness or is it about reducing our global carbon footprint? Is it a statement of global awareness of climate change? A worldwide (lazy) protest of our massive carbon footprint? Or is it an attempt to make a giant reduction in our global carbon footprint? 

That Nelly Furtado concert in Toronto requires electricity, but the organizers promise to power the show with renewable energy. So if we buy green power, does that mean we get to keep our lights on during Earth Hour?

 Buildings across the globe will turn off “non-essential lighting.” Assuming “non-essential lighting” is not essential, why is it on anyway

In Phoenix, Chase Field (home of the Arizona Diamondbacks) will power down for Earth Hour, but the D-backs’ opening day isn’t until April 1 so why would the lights be on in the first place? 

There’s a lot to discuss so let’s discuss. Please add your comments to the discussion–and feel free to comment before or after Earth Hour (just not during… at least not online anyway). 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Shannon permalink
    March 29, 2008 5:27 pm

    I just want to say that this earth hour stuff is all bull.

    Geting everyone to turn stuff off for one hour isn”t going to help the earth that much, in fact it may even cause MORE DAMAGE !!

    For example: Imagine an average family of 4 and their usual night. Perhaps this family walks to the local convenience store and rents a video to watch together every Sat night. They use a highly efficient microwave to nuke some leftovers and plop down in front of the TV for two hours with no other lights on because you can see the movie better that way.

    This week, this hypothetical family decides to “do the earth hour thing” with a few neighbors. They drive to the grocery store and purchase alot of meat and prepared foods like sweets/deserts, potato salad, and chips. They burn who knows how much propane to cook the factory-farmed meat they eat off paper or even Styrofoam plates. They use candles made from petroleum, or lamps powered by batteries or oil to light the party… And whatever doesn’t get eaten, will wind up in big plastic garbage bags to be taken to the dump.

    All this earth hour stuff is just another way for the average man to feel like he’s doing something good while making a mess.

    Actively choosing to turn down your thermostat a few degrees in the winter and up a few in the summer would save MUCH more energy than turning off all your electrical stuff for an hour each year.

    Actively choosing to REDUCE and REUSE would mean that the little that you do need to RECYCLE can be done in a cost effective manor.

    Actively choosing to compost your food scraps would not only save you money on fertilizer for your lawn each year, but would return the nutrients to the earth where they belong instead of trapping them in plastic bags buried under other garbage in a dump.

    Choose wisely in your day to day actions, and you’ll do so much more for the world than any STUNT like “Earth Hour”.

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