Once a year, and only once a year (sadly), civilization gets together to power down…for a whole hour. Started by the WWF (no, not the wrestlers) in Sydney in 2007, Earth Hour has since become a global phenomenon. Well, almost global. YERT was in DC for Earth Hour 2008 and was pretty unimpressed. One would think that the capital of the planet’s most power-hungry nation would jump at the chance to save a few kilowatts (and greenbacks), even if it meant turning out the lights at the capitol for a few minutes. One would be mistaken. This year promises to be better as DC (as well as over 100 other US cities) has signed on to Earth Hour in a big way. Of course, the proof is in the skyline.
Hopefully the awareness that Earth Hour brings can usher in a new era of Earth Weeks, and Earth Months, and, eventually, non-stop Earth Years. In some ways it’s a sad indictment of our civilization that the notion of turning off the lights needs its own special “day” or, sadder still, “hour.” We’re not quite sure what the concept of Earth Hour implies about every other hour of the year, but it’s probably not good (certainly Earth Hour should not be followed by Anti-Earth Hour, if at all possible). Nevertheless, the idea of Earth Hour is an inspired, if symbolic, step in the right direction. And this year, you can actually VOTE for the Earth. The opponent in this “election” is…um…Global Warming – and your lightswitch is your vote. I know that that in some ways that ballot choice seems very reminiscent of the 2000 Presidential election, so, by signing up for Earth Hour and turning out our lights, we can all do our part to make sure we don’t make THAT mistake again. The “results” will be presented at Copenhagen in December and Earth needs 1 Billion “votes” to “win.” Incidentally, the respective VP candidates in this election are Dennis Kucinich and Rush Limbaugh’s pilonidal cyst.
Ben, Julie, and Mark
P.S. If you’d like more information about saving energy, Earth Hour, or generally powering down, check out these breadcrumbs…
Calculate your carbon footprint here:
Here’s how much carbon Chicago kept out of the atmosphere last Earth Hour:
For those sitting on the fence, here’s a good article with some reasons to participate:
To learn more about the larger issue of powering down civilization in a post-carbon world, check out: