Eugene Cho

earth hour – going dark tonight

We’re going to do our part to lend support to the global movement and awareness of conservation via Earth Hour.  The international movement for Earth Hour is simple:  Turn off your electricity for one hour in your respective homes and businesses from 8-9pm tonight.  This will be a great opportunity for conversation with the children in our home.

Check out this short video [2:45] about Earth Hour:

And for those who were unaware of Earth Hour, I hope you will consider going dark for a simple 60 minutes tonight.  And while you participate in Earth Hour, I would also encourage you to be mindful of the great amount of people in our world that still do not have access to electricity:

During the past twenty-five years, electricity supplies have been extended to 1.3 billion people living in developing countries. Yet despite these advances, roughly 1.6 billion people, which is one quarter of the global population, still have no access to electricity and some 2.4 billion people rely on traditional biomass, including wood, agricultural residues and dung, for cooking and heating. More than 99 percent of people without electricity live in developing regions, and four out of five live in rural areas of South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa .

The health consequences of using biomass in an unsustainable way are staggering. According to the World Health Organization, exposure to indoor air pollution is responsible for the nearly two million excess deaths, primarily women and children, from cancer, respiratory infections and lung diseases and for four percent of the global burden of disease. In relative terms, deaths related to biomass pollution kill more people than malaria (1.2 million) and tuberculosis (1.6 million) each year around the world. [from Poverty, Energy, & Society]

Here’s an article from CNN [via AP] about countries who have already gone dark for Earth Hour:

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) — The iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge went dark Saturday night as Sydney became the world’s first major city to turn off its lights for this year’s Earth Hour, a global campaign to raise awareness about climate change.

Thousands of homes were dark for an hour in Christchurch, New Zealand. The famed Wat Arun Buddhist temple in Bangkok, Thailand switched off its lights.

The three major cities were among 23 worldwide, along with 300 smaller towns, taking part in Earth Hour — a campaign by environmental group WWF to highlight the need to conserve energy and fight global warming.

“This provides an extraordinary symbol and an indication that we can be part of the solution” to global warming, Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett told Sky News television, standing across the harbor from the dark silhouette of the Opera House.

Garrett said government offices and national monuments around the country took part in Earth Hour.

“We’re not only talking the talk, we’re walking the walk,” he said. “Whatever your view is about the magnitude of the problem … we can save money by using energy wisely and efficiently, and that gives us the added bonus of reduced greenhouse gas emissions.”

In Sydney, a lightning storm was the brightest part of Sydney’s skyline when the lights were turned off at the city’s landmarks. Most businesses and homes were already dark as residents embraced their second annual Earth Hour with candlelight dinners, beach bonfires and even a green-powered outdoor movie.

The number of participants was not immediately available but organizers were hoping to beat last year’s debut, when 2.2 million people and more than 2,000 businesses shut off lights and appliances, resulting in a 10.2 percent reduction in carbon emissions during that hour.

“I’m putting my neck on the line but my hope is that we top 100 million people,” Earth Hour Australia chief executive Greg Bourne said.

New Zealand and Fiji kicked off the event this year. In Christchurch, more than 100 businesses and thousands of homes were plunged into darkness.

Also in New Zealand, Auckland’s Langham Hotel switched from electric lights to candles as it joined the effort to reduce the use of electricity, which when generated creates greenhouse gases that are believed to contribute to global warming.

WWF Thailand said the lights out campaign in Bangkok saved 73.34 megawatts of electricity, which would have produced 45.8 tons of carbon dioxide.

In Manila, the grounds of the seaside Cultural Center of the Philippines went dark after four city mayors ceremonially switched off the lights. Shopping malls turned off street lamps around the metropolis.

After Asia, lights were expected to go out in major European and North American cites as the clock ticks on. One of the last to participate will be San Francisco, California — home to the soon-to-be dimmed Golden Gate Bridge.

Organizers see the event as a way to encourage the world to conserve energy.

“What’s amazing is that it’s transcending political boundaries and happening in places like China, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea,” said Earth Hour executive director Andy Ridley. “It really seems to have resonated with anybody and everybody.”

Popular search engine Google lent its support to Earth Hour with a completely black page and the words: “We’ve turned the lights out. Now it’s your turn.”

“Earth Hour is a call to action,” said Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore. “People have now responded and it’s time to introduce some significant long-term changes.”

Filed under: technology, , ,

13 Responses

  1. Shannon says:

    I just want to say that this earth hour stuff is all bull.

    Getting everyone to turn stuff off for one hour isn’t going to help the earth that much, in fact it may even cause MORE DAMAGE !!

    For example: Imagine an average family of 4 and their usual night. Perhaps this family walks to the local convenience store and rents a video to watch together every Sat night. They use a highly efficient microwave to nuke some leftovers and plop down in front of the TV for two hours with no other lights on because you can see the movie better that way.

    This week, this hypothetical family decides to “do the earth hour thing” with a few neighbors. They drive to the grocery store and purchase alot of meat and prepared foods like sweets/deserts, potato salad, and chips. They burn who knows how much propane to cook the factory-farmed meat they eat off paper or even Styrofoam plates. They use candles made from petroleum, or lamps powered by batteries or oil to light the party… And whatever doesn’t get eaten, will wind up in big plastic garbage bags to be taken to the dump.

    All this earth hour stuff is just another way for the average man to feel like he’s doing something good while making a mess.

    Actively choosing to turn down your thermostat a few degrees in the winter and up a few in the summer would save MUCH more energy than turning off all your electrical stuff for an hour each year.

    Actively choosing to REDUCE and REUSE would mean that the little that you do need to RECYCLE can be done in a cost effective manor.

    Actively choosing to compost your food scraps would not only save you money on fertilizer for your lawn each year, but would return the nutrients to the earth where they belong instead of trapping them in plastic bags buried under other garbage in a dump.

    Choose wisely in your day to day actions, and you’ll do so much more for the world than any STUNT like “Earth Hour”.

  2. Sam says:

    shannon, tell us how you really feel why don’t you.

    i think you’re missing the point of the event. have you checked out their organization. they are doings things that are impacting the world each day.

  3. Kacy says:

    Lights out for us, it is not hard to do – as a matter of fact it is great fun sitting with candles playing games with the kids, not games that involve pen and paper because the lighting ain`t so good.

  4. Melissa says:

    Shannon –
    A “family of 4” turning off their lights for one hour tonight won’t do much, tonight, to save the earth.

    However, a family of 4 who become more aware of their impact on the environment because of earth hour, and begin to make lifestyle choices tonight to reduce that impact, WILL.

    The purpose of a stunt is to raise awareness, and I think this stunt is likely to do exactly that.

  5. me says:

    To their credit, Earth Hour [WWF] has brought this to the forefront of pop culture. They’ve brough this in an accesible way to the larger consciousness of the world – both the consumer and corporations. So, Shannon, I agree with others that this will aid some people to reasess how their decisions can go beyond an hour.

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  7. pKay says:

    Awareness is the key!! Might not change the world in an instant (if only it was that easy) but every little bit helps!

    pKay!

  8. earthdreamer says:

    I think it does help the eearth because it is a collective decision on the part of hundreds or thousands of people to help. Even the decision and the act create a beautiful gift for mother earth. When many individuals gather together, even for a moment great change can occur. Every moment every hour every breath counts.

    I’m from Sydney.

    There’s some photos at flickr in the earth hour pool.

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/earthhour/pool/

    Thanks for sharing.

  9. tsfiles says:

    “I would also encourage you to be mindful of the great amount of people in our world that still do not have access to electricity.”

    The irony is totally lost on you.

    Many in the world have no access to electricity, so let’s turn OFF OUR electricity for an hour! Asinine? Absolutely.

    This cultist, irrational behavior might make its participants feel better about themselves but it will achieve nothing for the environment, even if we concede for a moment that CO2 is in fact the cause of global warming. (But since when has environmentalism ever cared about science?)

    ~ Sisyphus, http://www.tsfiles.wordpress.com

  10. Joshua says:

    “Awareness is the key!! Might not change the world in an instant (if only it was that easy) but every little bit helps!”

    Unfortunately awareness is nowhere near the key (I wish it was). Smoking is a huge example where awareness doesn’t stop millions of people from slowly killing themselves. The “key” if their is a single one is sacrifice. Until people are willing to sacrifice their comfort, routine, pride, ect. in even small amounts there won’t be meaningful change.
    Take the obese population in America for another example. What if thousands of morbidly obese people got together and said ” For half a day we are not going to eat any bad foods. No trans fat, no fried, no high sugar, ect. Instead we will only eat good whole foods, and this will help raise awareness and make a difference”
    Anyone whose ever gone on a diet knows that would be a joke. All it’s good for is making the fat people “feel” like they are doing something about their problem. Real weight loss only comes from a conscious consistent change in ones eating and exercise lifestyle.

    So lets be honest with ourselves, not to be jaded and in despair, but for the sake of focusing on what really will change things. No offense to the creators of Earth hour, but the least costly campaigns are the easiest to get behind. Where would our time and energy as believers in justice and equity in the world be best spent? Getting behind a publicity stunt (even a well intended one) or getting behind organizations that raise awareness about what will really make a difference?

  11. Joshua says:

    Let me add that Jesus happens to be one (the One) who knows what it takes to make a difference and He’s even got the plan to do it. And it’s far removed from the “earth hour” awareness model of change.

  12. pKay says:

    Joshua… I understand where your comming from, but there is another concept that I did not want to bring up but I feel I must to explain myself a bit in what I meant above….

    You mentioned how people need to “change” to stop smoking, to eat less, to excersise more etc… We all know that many many people around the world dont change if they dont have to…. They dont stop smoking until they die from lung cancer. They dont stop eating until they break an escalator, they excersise once their doctor tells them that they will die in 3 weeks unless all that plaque in their arteries from all the high fat isint cleared up…. AKA when its too late…

    It would be great if everyone suddently used “green bags” insteads of plastic shopping bags in supermarkets and never thought anything for it. But nope, people dont see their bad habits affecting them in the short turn (let alone the environment,community etc) so they continue doing what they think is OK and doesnt hurt anybody… When will they switch to “green bags”? When there is a 20 cent tax on the shopping bags…

    Ok so ill stop rambling but my point is (is there a point?) that people rarely do sacrifices as its so much easier to well….not do the sacrifice… Until people (I am just saying in general as not everyone is like this) begin to realize that you need to think not just for the day but for the future as well… the change will be slow and will only come about when its either too late or just about enough damage is done but we all march on with our lives….

    Cheers😀

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