|Tokyo sits in darkness during a rolling blackout / bionicbong.com|
Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change. Only a year later and Earth Hour had become a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries/territories participating. Global landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, CN Tower in Toronto, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Rome’s Colosseum, all stood in darkness, as symbols of hope for a cause that grows more urgent by the hour.Climate change is what they are standing up against, not oil consumption, or the debt based infinite growth economy. Seems like a good cause anyway though right? I mean who doesn't want to help the planet? Who wants more extreme weather? Certainly not me, I can't stand the Canadian cold as it is.
My main question though of course is: how exactly does turning off the lights for an hour stand up to climate change? At the end of this hour we all know you are going to turn the lights back on, unlike the Japanese shown above who have been forced to have rolling "earth hours" for 6-8 hours at a time.
Here's the big fact that opposses the climate change philosophy of earth hour: power plants are still producing the same amount of power. Just because you are not using this energy, does not mean it is not being generated and essentially wasted. Power plants can not simply ramp up or down the amount of generating capacity at a whim. Power production relies heavily on anticipated usage so that they can ensure that the proper amount of power is being generated at any given time to meet demand without too much waste. What do you think an event like earth hour does to the anticipatory abilities of this power production? Well because it is voluntary it is therefore unpredictable. It is not known how many people will or will not be using power, and the hour long duration doesn't offer enough time to bother adjusting power output.
So, because you are not using power, is that power being saved? No, in fact its being wasted. Earth Hour wastes power, and all for some irrelevant symbology to appease our guilty earth destroying consciousness. We will produce excess energy for this hour all so that we can feel as though we are not wasting any.
So I will not be participating, and I hope you don't either. Proudly use the power being generated, because it will be generated regardless of whether you decide to use it or not. Earth Hour is the illusion of change, without having to change anything. Earth Hour should really be called "Us Hour", because truthfully it is all about our feelings about power usage and has little or nothing to do with genuine concern for the Earth or any sort of lasting change.
Update & note: For those who say "Earth Hour" is about raising awareness about climate change or energy consumption; consider that using this sort of logic that "wasting it shows you want to conserve it", it would then make sense to go around burning the money in your wallet. Not spending it, but literally lighting it on fire in waste. Under the logic of earth hour this should help raise awareness that saving money is a good idea.... Yea, it doesn't make sense to me either.