Earth Hour 2010 is coming up on Saturday March 27th at 8:30 pm. Earth Hour is celebrated annually with everyone who participates turning off their lights for an hour. In 2009, the Earth Hour website notes that hundreds of millions of people around the world participated and did indeed turn their lights off for one hour.
I won’t be celebrating. I never do. Obviously I am into green living, I’m just not on board with Earth Hour and thus far no one has been able to convince me to participate. Frankly I’m barely on board with Earth Day for the same reasons that I’m not celebrating Earth Hour; but more on this in a minute. First let’s learn a little more about the official Earth Hour goal. The Earth Hour website notes the following.
Earth Hour is organized by WWF. With almost 5 million supporters and a global network in over 100 countries, it’s one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations. Earth Hour is a global call to action to every individual, every business and every community throughout the world. It is a call to stand up, to take responsibility, to get involved and lead the way towards a sustainable future. People across the world from all walks of life will turn off their lights and join together in celebration and contemplation of the one thing we all have in common – our planet.
The good of Earth Hour…
- I like the World Wildlife Fund (Earth Hour organizers) so it’s nice they get this day to gain more support.
- I like that Earth Hour encourages ideas of ways to spend non-electricity based time with the family.
- Earth Hour has raised awareness of climate change issues and offers some educational tools and reading guides that are useful.
The not so useful aspects of Earth Hour…
I don’t like holidays or events that celebrate one way of being or acting on a specific day. For example, being nice to your dad on Father’s Day or being eco-friendly on Earth Day. I like a whole lifestyle approach to living. Be nice year round. Be giving year round. Be green year round. Turn off the dang lights daily. You know?
I don’t think the impact matters. Earth Hour states, “New economic modeling (pdf) indicates the world has just five years to initiate a low carbon industrial revolution before runaway climate change becomes almost inevitable. But it can be done, and the long term benefits will be enormous. So now’s the time to take a stand and give world leaders the mandate they need to make the right climate deal.” Um, personally I think that world leaders could give a care about Earth Hour. Not to sound mean, but honestly, if something like Copenhagen was such an abysmal event, how on earth will Earth Hour create change? On a small scale sure, Earth Hour might be a good idea to build awareness for families and individuals, but as the key to convincing world leaders – no.
It doesn’t save all that much energy but it does use plenty – there are Earth Hour tees and tons of other gimmicks associated with this event. For example Time Magazine notes about Earth Hour 2008, “Servers wearing glow-in-the-dark necklaces sold eco-tinis at bars and restaurants in Phoenix. A local yoga house in Michigan offered sessions by lamplight, and the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago arranged check-in by candlelight.” It all feels very markety to me. Plus those glow necklaces not so eco-friendly are they? And like all gear associated with the event, they take energy to make.
I get that the main point is to make a point – i.e. look at us we’re all turning off the lights because we care (look at us politicians) but it just doesn’t add up as long-term meaningful to me. Especially when I meet folks who celebrate Earth Hour but can’t even manage to bring a reusable bag to the grocery store (how does that even out?)
I don’t think it’s utterly useless or lame to participate, I just think that you can make smarter green decisions than simply participating in Earth Hour.
Coming up we’ll look at ten green living choices that make a bigger impact than Earth Hour.
[image via Earth Hour]