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Earth Hour

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Earth Hour 2008

Tomorrow, Saturday 29th March at 8:00 PM, 24 cities around the world will participate in Earth Hour 2008. Earth Hour is the highlight of a major campaign to encourage businesses, communities and individuals to take simple steps to cut their emissions on an ongoing basis. It is about simple changes that will collectively make a difference – from businesses turning off their lights when their offices are empty, to households turning off appliances rather than leaving them on standby. At the time of writing, 264,543 individuals and 19,185 businesses have signed up.

On 31st March 2007, 2.2 million people and 2,100 Sydney businesses turned off their lights for one hour. If the greenhouse reduction achieved in the Sydney Central Business District during Earth Hour were sustained for a year, it would be equivalent to taking 48,616 cars off the road for a year. To put it another way, Earth Hour itself saved just over 5.5 car-years of emissions. Earth Hour 2008 hopes to build on that success and become a global event. Whether you embrace initiatives like this or regard them with a touch of cynicism is a personal choice, of course. You might say that every little helps, and we should reduce our energy consumption and carbon emissions however and wherever we can. Hard to argue with that, unless you’re a died-in-the-wool climate change sceptic.

“Switching the lights off for an hour is not going to make a dent in global emissions,” organiser Charles Stevens, from WWF, admits. “But what it does do is it is a great catalyst for much bigger changes. It engages people in the processes of becoming more energy efficient.”

Be that as it may, there’s a nagging suspicion about this kind of mega event that nothing really changes, that once it’s over it’s over, everyone’s had a good time, now it’s back to business as usual with a warm glow of righteous satisfaction that they finally found something useful to put on their Facebook page. Think Live 8.

For those who like this sort of thing, sign up here. Quite what is achieved by signing up escapes me, but then a lot of stuff passes me by nowadays. I’ll just carry on saving resources using good old-fashioned frugality. All day, every day, not just for an hour.

“You’ll love it, it’s a way of life” – Frank Zappa, ‘The Central Scrutinizer’


Written by Pete Smith

March 28, 2008 at 4:03 pm

One Response

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  1. Maybe we should just do it to get some practise in for when the dark age arrives. Lol.

    Actually, I agree that it won’t make much of a difference apart from leaving many people feeling smugly satisfied that they’ve done their bit.

    It will raise awareness though and if we switch of our TV’s and PC’s too families might just actually interact with each other. Wouldn’t that be a hoot!


    March 29, 2008 at 10:05 am

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