Earth Hour started last year in Sydney, Australia, and according to the organizers' website :
Created to take a stand against the greatest threat our planet has ever faced, Earth Hour uses the simple action of turning off the lights for one hour to deliver a powerful message about the need for action on global warming.
On March 31 2007, for one hour, Sydney made a powerful statement about the greatest contributor to global warming – coal-fired electricity – by turning off its lights. Over 2.2 million Sydney residents and over 2,100 businesses switched off, leading to a 10.2% energy reduction across the city. What began as one city taking a stand against global warming caught the attention of the world.
In 2008, 24 global cities will participate in Earth Hour at 8pm on March 29. Earth Hour is the highlight of a major campaign to encourage businesses, communities and individuals to take the simple steps needed to cut their emissions on an ongoing basis. It is about simple changes that will collectively make a difference – from businesses turning off their lights when their offices are empty, to households turning off appliances rather than leaving them on standby.
Well, pardon my language, but that's bullshit. Earth Hour is not about simple changes that will collectively make a difference. I agree with Jason at Catallaxy:
Let’s face it, Earth Hour is fundamentally about Romanticist aesthetics - the thought of being able to see the stars because all artificial lights are turned off and the idea of a retreat to an idyllic past that never existed when cavemen and cavewomen sang kumbaya around a fire. It’s not about efficient energy use (which can be achieved simply by paying attention to your electricity bills and turning off unnecessary switches, something that has always been driled into my frugal self from a young age) or carbon dioxide reduction.Australian blogger Tim Blair reports:
The advice on candles in the Earth Hour supplement may not be as green as you claim. Every standard-sized candle, when burnt completely, releases 15 grams of carbon dioxide whether it is beeswax, soy or paraffin-based. The lady depicted is burning 28 candles, creating more than four times the CO2 supplied by coal power to light one old-fashioned 100-watt bulb for an hour.
The whole stunt requires people to turn off efficiently made and distributed energy - electricity - and replace it with alternatives - candles and gas barbecues - that have to be transported by oil-burning ships, trucks and cars to the point where they are to be set fire to in the open air without any means of capturing emissions. It’s insanity if the aim is to reduce CO2.Right on cue, the schools are gearing up the youngsters to hector their parents:
Schools and offices of the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board are invited to participate in Earth Hour on Friday, March 28 by turning off non-emergency lights for one hour. This simple action is one that helps make a difference and sends a powerful message about caring for the planet.
In my humble opinion, activities like Earth Hour are less about reducing energy use and more about making consumerism look uncool so that the hip alternative is seen to be an anti-capitalist communitarian political agenda of the kind put forward by the Green Party or the NDP. Here in Ontario, frightening the populace into reducing their electricity consumption has the added benefit of postponing the day of reckoning for years of inept management of the electricity generating system in the province.
So, join me on March 29 and power up the house at 8:00 pm. Your increased carbon emissions might just help warm up this unusually cold winter that doesn't seem to be ending any time soon.
RELATED: Check out Peter Foster's commentary in the Mar. 26 Financial Post: Earth Hour's soft fascism . An excerpt:
The cause, masterminded by the World Wildlife Fund, WWF, is allegedly to raise awareness of climate change. But what needs raising is not so much awareness as knowledge. People are woefully ignorant both about the uncertainties of climate-change science and the implications of climate-change politics. However, the WWF has no interest in discussing or debating the issue. According to them, we should "stop talking and start acting." Check your brains at the door.
Far from being a harmless gesture of support for the environment, Earth Hour is symbolic of a spreading soft fascism, aided by well-meaning individuals and well-meaning and/or cynical and/ or scared corporations. Indeed, what is truly astonishing, and disturbing, about this turn-out-the-lights exercise is how many businesses and corporations have signed on to it. According to the WWF Canada, they haven't had one "no" from any company they've approached.
WWF Canada, supported by -- among others -- the Toronto Star, Virgin Mobile, the City of Toronto, Toronto Hydro and Canwest's Global TV (Canwest owns this newspaper), is using Earth Hour as an opportunity to take its environmental indoctrination deeper into schools. It suggests that schools hold an event this Friday, and perhaps turn their gyms into cinemas, where they might show films such as -- you guessed it --An Inconvenient Truth!
I would suggest that the biggest current threat to our planet is not either climate change or the financial "crisis," but the mindless conformist tendency to support ideas such as Earth Hour, which are aimed at the levers of both electrical and political power.
If you love civilization, freedom and the use of reason, keep on all the lights you need on Saturday. Take Back the Night.