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.