gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


What are you doing for Earth Hour 2008?

March 28, 2008 @ 15:14 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, Environment

image The second annual Earth Hour takes place at 8pm local time tomorrow (March 29th). The idea is that people turn, companies and cities turn off their lights for an hour to help inspire people to take action on climate change. It started in Sydney, Australia last year with something like 2.2 million people and 2100 businesses in Sydney turning off their lights for an hour on March 31st. Since then, it has become a global movement with more than a quarter of a million people and a large number of companies and cities committing to turning off their lights for an hour.

Locally, the City of Ottawa has joined the Earth Hour movement. Personally, I’m going to turn off my lights for the hour.

What are you going to do? If you’re not doing anything, why not?

3 Responses to “What are you doing for Earth Hour 2008?”

  1. Squid says:


    I think the whole thing is a weird publicity stunt that does nothing substantial to combat much of anything, while giving people a false sense of “wow, I’m making a difference.” It is my opinion that the illusion of helping is worse than not helping at all because it hides the truth. It’s like wearing one of those plastic wrist bands in support of a cure for cancer – you buy a wrist band made out of toxic chemicals to support a cure for cancer… think about the irony of that for a moment.

    All the energy and dead trees that have gone into making the ubiquitous posters and distributing them cost energy (and TREES). Subtract from the energy “saved” the energy used to dispose of that stuff.

    And people aren’t exactly going to sit idle in the dark either. They’re going to flip on the TV rather than read a book by the lamp. They’re going to get in the car and DRIVE somewhere that is lit. Maybe they’ll flip on their computer and play a game for an hour, using more electricity than a whole room full of light bulbs. They’re going to use energy in other ways. And when the hour is up, hordes of people are going to flip lights back on in a short period of time, causing a huge spike in the load on the power grid. That’s not only wasteful, it’s DANGEROUS.

    At best, it will “save” an insignificant amount of electricity when everything is factored in.

    Thus I ignore this earth hour bollocks… not just to be ornery, but because I truly believe it’s a complete waste of time. I was actually going to write this reply as a blog article of my own, but since you already put up an article… 🙂

  2. gordon says:

    You’re right… it is a publicity stunt designed to get people thinking about their energy consumption and how easy it is for people to change their behaviours at home without having a significant negative impact on their enjoyment of life.

    A little while ago a geocacher on one of the geocaching forums I follow proposed that everyone turn out their lights and get together for an evening of geocaching. This wouldn’t be a bad way to pass the time except that most people will have to drive to wherever they were meeting up. I refrained from commenting on the irony of that in the forum.

    So, if it gets some people to change their ways, even a bit, in terms of their energy consumption, then it’s achieved something. Even if it doesn’t, it gives people something to do on a Saturday evening for an hour. After all, it’s not every day that you see buildings like those on Parliament Hill turn out most of their lights, eh?

  3. Squid says:

    If it was an hour later, it would be useful for astronomy I suppose.

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