Saturday, March 27, 2010

Earth Hour 2010

Join the global movement known as Earth Hour today - Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 8:30 pm (your local time). We'll be right there with you. Our family has participated for the last two years and it's interesting to see how momentum is growing for this little movement. Over 25 state governments across the US are participating this year (I wish I could say that it was all 50!).

How do you join? Simple. Just don't use any electricity for one hour. Spend the time talking to your family, playing board games by candlelight, noticing how quiet things are when we don't use so much electricity. This year, there's even an Earth Hour Kids webpage to help get you started.

Does an event like Earth Hour have an impact? Does it really save energy?

The first Earth Hour, celebrated in Sydney, Australia in 2007, had around two million participants. Last year, "[n]early one billion people turned out for Earth Hour 2009 – involving 4,100 cities in 87 countries on seven continents," according to the Earth Hour website.

Despite this wonderful outpouring of support, the overall effect of Earth Hour on energy usage has not proven to be significant. (As I wrote in my Thoughts About Earth Hour last year, some cities only reported a 1% decrease in power usage during the event.)

However, I think Earth Hour does two things extremely well:

* Before and after pictures taken of participating cities show us, in vivid detail, the extensive and sometimes devastating impact of light pollution on our society (speaking as someone who can seldom see the stars where I live!).

* More importantly, participation in Earth Hour makes us -- individually and collectively -- stop and think about what we are doing, how we are living, and why we are making these choices. To me, this is the most important reason to participate: to join in the global dialogue.

* * *

If you liked this post, you might enjoy:

- Earth Hour 2009

- Earth Hour 2008

- Thoughts About Earth Hour


CrazyCris said...

I did it! but sadly it seems like many in my city didn't. I went up on the roof hoping to see lights twinkle off across the city, but the only noticeable effect was the castle going dark.
sigh! perhaps next year?

jublke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jublke said...

Hi CrazyCris: Thanks for stopping by again! It's great to see you here.

I know what you mean. At first, I misread the Earth Hour US website and thought that all 50 state governments were participating. Amazing! I thought. But, alas, still untrue. But at least half were involved, which is great.

When you consider that Earth Hour has only been around since 2007, I think it's still gaining momentum and we can take heart in that. But, I agree, I wish we could convince more people to participate. I'm not sure that anyone else on my block joined in. Makes you feel a bit lonely, doesn't it? Let's head over to flickr and browse their Earth Hour 2010 Photo Pool.