Sunday, March 29, 2009

Earth Hour 2009

Last night was Earth Hour - the hour when people and organizations are encouraged turn off as much electrical equipment & lights. It is a promotion to help remind us about global warming and of our need to reduce our carbon emissions. (

As a political and environmental point, it has become an important symbol.

But it's not enough! Unless people and organizations make changes - drive less, use more economical transport, turn off appliances and lights, use less packaging, and recycle more - one hour, one day a year will make little difference.

The same for organizations - if it's acceptable to turn off most lights in empty buildings at night for one hour, why is it not aceptable every night? Security lighting is important, but it does not need every light, in every room, on every floor, every night! Electricity companies will say they need it, because they need to provide base load electricty from their mostly coal-fired, power generators. This is like the cart driving the horse. But if we set our base-load demand on our needs, not those of electricity companies, then they will have to adapt. That adaptation will result is less electricty being made from coal, and more from other sources during the day.

Governments have a role to play, by setting appropriate social, environmental and taxation policies. The coal industry donates $millions to our political parties and politicians; and governments and politicians want to sell electricity assets, so it is unlikely there will be significant action. If that sounds cynical, consider the following quote, from George Beranrd Shaw: "The power of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don't have it."

I encourage to to change your habits - it'll be good for the environment, & you'll pay less in bills, too. Oh - and that would increase company profits too.

Some Earth Hour 200 photos can be found at: