Earth Hour starts at 8:00 p.m. tomorrow. The World Wildlife Fund is encouraging everyone to turn off their lights for sixty minutes.
The event started in Sydney, Australia last year, with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 5%. When they ran the numbers, they more than doubled their goal by reducing emissions 10.2%. An excellent result, but keep in mind this reduction lasted for all of one hour.
The Earth Hour site says,
On 31 March 2007, 2.2 million people and 2100 Sydney businesses turned off their lights for one hour — Earth Hour. If the greenhouse reduction achieved in the Sydney CBD during Earth Hour was sustained for a year, it would be equivalent to taking 48,616 cars off the road for a year.
Similarly, I could easily retire with more than three million dollars in the bank if I avoid spending any money until I retire. Like continuing the Earth Hour savings through every hour for an entire year, it is not going to happen.
Rather than throwing out a meaningless equivalence figure for a pipe dream, they could instead say that the one hour of savings achieved by the people of Sydney is the equivalent of taking five cars off the road for an entire year, and a sixth car for just over six months. Sure it’s not as sexy, but I find it far more impressive that by simply turning off the lights for an hour, I can be part of saving the yearly emissions of 5.54 cars. It’s not pie-in-the sky and it’s not a wish. It means something very real.
That was the serious part of my take on Earth Hour. After the information overload I received about it, I’m more than a little snarky. Indulge me for the remainder of this entry.
Since Earth Hour is new, you probably don’t know what to do. Let me help with these easy directions:
- At 8pm, turn all your lights off. The Earth Hour people have suggestions for what type of candles to burn if you don’t want to sit in the dark. Yep, CO2 certainly is a byproduct of combustion, but we’re saving the Earth here. Don’t be an asshole about it, okay?
- While you’re there in the dark, have a look outside and see which of your neighbours have their lights on and therefore hate the Earth.
- At 9:00 p.m., turn your lights back on. Be proud that you’ve saved the Earth.
- The circle jerk scheduled for 10:00 p.m. is optional, but recommended.
In the days following, be sure to subtly let your non-conforming neighbours know that you know they didn’t participate in Earth Hour. Look down on them. You’re entitled because you’re obviously a much better person. Come on, they couldn’t miss an episode of the Garry Shandling Show to save the Earth? The show’s been off the air for twenty years! Your neighbours clearly deserve your scorn.