Edmonton is one of five Canadian cities taking part in Earth Hour 2009, the “lights out phenomenon” led by the World Wildlife Fund. No matter your take on the event (I’m not a supporter), many people in our city will be shutting off their lights and other electronics for an hour on Saturday evening. The official time is from 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM on Saturday, March 28th, 2009.
Here are some Earth Hour events taking place in Edmonton:
Know of any others? Let me know!
It’s a little silly to think that we still need to raise awareness for climate change (in my opinion), but that’s all Earth Hour can hope to accomplish. Last year, Epcor initially said that power consumption increased during Earth Hour but later revised that to say that consumption dropped 1.5%. In other words, it had no real effect. I doubt this year will be any different.
You can learn more about Earth Hour in Canada here or on Facebook, and if you’d like to register online, you can do so here. According to the Edmonton Examiner, just 1400 Edmontonians registered for Earth Hour 2008.
I thought I was done with Earth Hour-related posts, but then I came across this article at the National Post while reading Larry’s blog. You really need to give it a read, but here’s a bit of a teaser:
George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four invoked the nightmare of “thoughtcrime,” by which dictators sought to erase even the possibility of challenge to their rule. His Thought Police were based very much on the techniques actually used by the Soviets. They sought by surveillance and other methods to root out any trace of “unorthodoxy.”
On Saturday night, the awful possibility of “lightcrime” appeared on the deliberately dimmed horizon. Who among those who knew about Earth Hour did not feel an internal compulsion to turn down the lights for fear of public disapprobation, even if they believed that the whole thing was either a pointless or subversive stunt?
Author Peter Foster explains the metaphor further, and finishes by sharing this incredibly sad comment from a 12-year-old in Toronto:
“Earth Hour is important to me because my kids and grandkids will be living on this Earth,” declared Morgan Baskin, aged 12, at an event at Holy Trinity Church in downtown Toronto. “I don’t want my kids to be around for the end of the Earth.”
Like Peter says, this is child abuse. Instead of being taught to learn about the environment, to read and to think, children are being taught that unless you turn your lights off for an hour along with everyone else, the world is going to end.
Earth Hour is an international event that asks households and businesses to turn off their lights and non-essential electrical appliances for one hour on the evening of 29 March at 8 pm local time until 9 pm to promote electricity conservation and thus lower carbon emissions.
I’ve written about this already, and I don’t think there’s much else to be said. If you’re participating in Earth Hour, that’s great, I’m glad you have an interest in making the world a better place to live.
But next time you feel the need to be green, pick an activity that will actually make a difference. Replace your lights with energy efficient ones. Turn the thermostat down in the winter. Buy a fuel efficient car, or better yet, switch to transit. Reduce, reuse, and recycle.
You don’t lose weight by going on a diet for an hour, so don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll make the Earth more green by turning the lights out for an hour.
Have you heard of Earth Hour? Sharon sent me a link for it today, pointing out that the City of Edmonton is participating in the “global movement” that aims to “take a stand against the greatest threat our planet has ever faced”. Cities around the world are pledging to turn off the lights for one hour on March 29th. From the about page:
On 31 March 2007, 2.2 million people and 2100 Sydney businesses turned off their lights for one hour – Earth Hour. This massive collective effort reduced Sydney’s energy consumption by 10.2% for one hour, which is the equivalent effect of taking 48,000 cars off the road for a year.
With Sydney icons like the Harbour Bridge and Opera House turning their lights off, and unique events such as weddings by candlelight, the world took notice. Inspired by the collective effort of millions of Sydneysiders, many major global cities are joining Earth Hour in 2008, turning a symbolic event into a global movement.
Reminds me a little of Live Earth. Remember that event? The worldwide concerts that did so much for the “climate in crisis”? Yeah, I remember that.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve about had it with this event bullshit.
- Can we really say the current warming trend is “the greatest threat” the Earth has ever faced? What about the ice ages of the past? Or periods of space bombardment? Or World War II and nuclear weapons? I mean, come on.
- At best, these events come out neutral in terms of net energy consumption/reduction. More than likely, they probably have the opposite of their intended effect. Think of all the TVs and computers tuned to the Live Earth concerts last year. The same thing will happen with Earth Hour.
- Do these events really inspire change? I would argue that they actually make people complacent – “I don’t need to walk today, I participated in Earth Hour!”
Instead of turning the lights out for an hour, I’d rather see the City of Edmonton do something that would actually make a difference, such as replacing all our old street and traffic lights with new, energy efficient ones.
Read: Earth Hour