March 29 2009

Why Earth Hour Is A Bunch Of Hot Air

earth hourCould we all just drop this “Earth Hour” junk now?

Last night, for one hour, people around the world turned off their lights as show of support against global climate change.  The trend started in 2007 when Sydney, Australia went dark for one hour, and by 2008 it expanded across the world as more people joing in the movement.  This year it returned with places such as the Las Vegas strip going completely dark, much to the awe of people that work and live there. Cities all over the planet went dark from 8:30 to 9:30 local time in honor of making a statement against climate change.

-golf clap-

Do you all feel better about yourselves now? Boy, that whole one hour out of the 8,760 a year… whew… I am blown away by the sacrifice.  I mean, seriously, choosing an hour of the one night of the week most people are out of their houses anyway… out having dinner… at a movie… maybe a sporting event or a concert, I mean you couldn’t have picked an hour that inconvenienced people less could ya?  How about instead of once a year you try this once a month, or even once a week?  But, no, one hour out of every year, on a night that inconveniences the smallest number of people possible while still being during a “prime time” hour, that’s your brilliant plan for spreading the word.

What are you doing to educate people through out the rest of the year?  What are you doing to make sure the people turn off unnecessary appliances?  Turning off the lights when they are out of the room?  People, by nature, have short attention spans, and doing something like this once a year isn’t going to be having the impact you think it will.  Sure there were all sorts of articles after last year’s Earth Hour where we saved X amount of energy, and stopped Y amount of carbon gases from being produced, but that’s one hour out of one night.  Whoopee.

You want to make a real impact?  Ponder the hard economic times people are facing right now.  Now, show them how much money that hour cost them with normal lighting, TVs, computers and so on turned on.  Now, show them how much that hour cost them with all of those appliances on.  You want impact?  There’s your impact.  Multiply that times the number of nights in a year, even if they do it once a month, once a week or every night, show them the cold hard facts of how this impacts their wallet.

Then, go to cities that have lights turned on tourist sites for hours on end, show them how much they could cut from their budget if they turned off the lights earlier in the night for different time increments.  Do the same for businesses and tell them how much money they can save  if they turn off more lights in their office buildings at night.  You have to make things tangible for people to get it and understand it, and nothing is more tangible then showing them in black and white how much money they can save.  Talking to them about how many tonnes of gases you prevented from being released means nothing to 99% of the people you say it to, but tell them they saved $X, they’ll get it.

I am all for people turning off lights to reduce their carbon footprint, and even if it is just to save money, but to promote it only once a year seems like a whole lot of back patting about nothing.

And, by the way, their promotion for this event leaves a lot to be desired.  As someone who is online from the time he gets up until the time he goes to bed, how is it I heard nothing about this year’s event until yesterday morning?  You know, the morning of the event?  Good promotion there folks.  I appreciate the sentiment, but it feels awfully hollow to me for some reason.

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