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The Love Bug

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My Thoughts On Earth Hour [Mar. 29th, 2009|04:32 pm]
The Love Bug
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You know, I’ve been seeing a number of people posting how they switched all of their power off for an hour between 20:30 and 21:30 yesterday. This has attracted a mixed reaction from a number of quarters: some saying that it’s an amazing idea and that everyone should do it, others saying how it will put immense strain on the power grids once everyone switches everything back on again at the end of the hour.

You know what I think?

I think that Earth Hour, whilst being a great idea, is really nothing more than an idle gesture in its current format. I believe that one hour a year (or so the Wiki article suggests) will have virtually no impact versus the other 8,765 hours in a year. This represents only 0.011% of the year, although I appreciate the actual percentage, compared against actual power usage at that particular time of day, would be higher.

I think that the main problem with Earth Hour is what happened at 21:30 - when everyone probably did switch all of their electrical devices - lights, TVs, PCs, kettles, mobile phone charges, etc - back on again. At that moment, it’s entirely possible that most people were thinking, “Wow, I’ve really made a difference to the world,” and then immediately gone back to their usual power usage habits.

No, what needs to happen here is we need to change the way that we use and respect the power services that enter our homes, schools and offices. I’m in support of the concept of Earth Hour, but only if it makes a difference to the way that people think about how they use power. If all of these people that participated in Earth Hour (I didn’t, by the way, and I’ll explain more in a bit) suddenly realised that they could do without electricity (and any other energy form) for one hour in a given day, maybe they could see clear to doing it every day or, where that isn’t practical, making changes to their energy usage that would give a very good equivalent.

As I just hinted, I did not partake in Earth Hour for these very reasons. I’ve already gone through our house and replaced (at considerable expense, I should point out) the majority of the light bulbs in our house with energy-saving equivalents, resulting in a long-term drop in power usage, particularly during the evening hours, rendering my participation in Earth Hour almost pointless. I would like to think that my “green” contribution in a day would be worth more than an hour of no power.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not trying to say that my contribution is better than anyone elses. Hell, no. My point here is that we need to do things that give more long-term benefits than simply suspending our usual power usage for an hour a year. Oh yeah, I’ll be at the front of the queue to tell everyone that Earth Hour made a difference, because I do honestly believe that it did.

... but we can do so much more.

[User Picture]From: theblackwreath
2009-03-29 03:45 pm (UTC)
The main point of the hour wasn't to try and save some electric for an hour, like you said that wouldn't have any impact whatsoever.

It was a worldwide election to show world leaders that enough people across the globe cared about the planet in an attempt to make those same leaders finally take action against global warming.

As in any election, every vote counts
and it was our chance for the people of the world to make their voice heard.
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[User Picture]From: thelovebug
2009-03-29 04:15 pm (UTC)
Sorry, you're absolutely correct, and I should have made that clearer in my original post.

However, tackling global climate change sits as much with us as it does with our governments. My point is still valid. It's one thing to take action to persuade world leaders to tackle global climate change, and yet another thing to take action to tackle it ourselves. We have more control over ourselves, after all.
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[User Picture]From: theblackwreath
2009-03-29 06:11 pm (UTC)
Absolutely, I think most people are very aware of the issues these days and go to great efforts to be greener, it is up to the individual to do their bit so surely something like this can only educate further those who still aren't already doing so.

All these people who took part signed the petition online so WWF had actual figures of the people who were already trying to do their own bit for the environment to present to the world leaders to show them that a vast majority of the world really did care enough for them to take notice.

The light switching thing was just it's gimmick, the petition was the most important part of it all.
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[User Picture]From: thelovebug
2009-03-29 07:08 pm (UTC)
I have to admit, I didn't even realise there was a petition!
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[User Picture]From: slooj
2009-03-29 04:11 pm (UTC)
From what I've read, a lot of people still used other electrical devices like PCs/TVs etc, they just kept the lights off, which I think is a bit hypocritical. :-/

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[User Picture]From: helley
2009-03-29 05:36 pm (UTC)
I have to say I agree with you, Dave. I didn't take part in it this year.
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