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Will Earth Hour really make a difference?

Earth Hour 2009 has a nice buzz around it, in contrast to last year, when it passed by almost incognito. Just look at the response this year to Earth Hour, a global event initiated by WWF Australia and The Sydney Morning Herald in 2007.  Compared to 35 countries who participated in 2008, today we’ll see people from more than 2100 countries, switching off their lights and all non-essential electrical and electronic devices, between 8.30 pm and 9.30 pm local time, and bask in the darkness of the sky. At least in theory. We’ll see what happens tonight!

Will it really make a difference?

Globally, we emit 27 billion tons of CO2 every year.  Will turning off our lights for merely an hour, for only one day in a year make a difference? I don’t think it will even scratch the surface of the problem, and in all the hype surrounding Earth Hour, we must not be lulled into a sense of complacency about the sheer magnitude of the problem of global warming.

 

Where Earth Hour does make a huge impact is at a symbolic level. Precisely because the scale of the issue of global warming is so large, this act helps to keep it on our radar screen, and perhaps a little higher on the political agenda.

 

If your city turns truly dark tonight, it will only go to show how much of a difference our collective actions can make. It’s a learning for all of us to extend that lesson to other areas of our lives too, including recycling, reducing our consumption, changing the quality of our consumption to environmentally friendly options.

 

Personally, I don’t really mind more Earth Hours, once a month, maybe even once a week. We’ll manage, for Earth’s sake. Besides, it would be rather nice to see the stars in the city skies a bit more often, and give ourselves a break from all the electrical and electronic gadgets that rule our lives.

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Posted by on Mar 28 2009. Filed under Chemicals, Climate Change, Energy/Renewables, Green Action, Green Activism. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

2 Comments for “Will Earth Hour really make a difference?”

  1. Bhavani
    AT home we created all this excitement and awareness about earth hour – and once we were pitched in darkness with no fans also, it was soooo disappointing to see entire novena skyline lit up!! No difference at all – hdbs, office buildings, even our own condo lights were fully on – in fact yday i noticed they added 2 huge hallogens over the koi pond – even the fishes are not allowed darkness to rest at night!! I was disappointed at neigbouring insensitivity to earth hour….kids were asking why nobody else was switching the lights off (I had told them everyone will swtich off lights and everything will be dark :) ). Next time better not to raise their expectations too much!!

  2. Hi Riri, it was a similar story down my street. Getting people to care about the environment is sometimes an uphill task, but we must continue to do the best we can and not give up. Next year round, maybe you could get your kids to influence your condo residents and other children, maybe by word of mouth, or hand made flyers to spread the word around, so instead of feeling disappointed, they will feel an even greater sense of participation. Not everyone(including governments) thinks the environment and global warming to be priorities, so we have to keep trying.

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