Earth Hour

Today at 8 p.m. local time, turn off your lights.

The World Wildlife Fund is encouraging everyone to turn off their lights for one hour on March 29 at 8 p.m. local time as a statement about climate change. They call it Earth Hour and you can join up here to let them know you’ll be taking part. I’m totally down with it and will be turning off my lights. But I have two things I want to say about it.

1. This is just a start. This is one hour and having millions of people turn off their lights for an hour will have a measurable impact on energy usage. But it’s only one hour. We live 87601 hours every year on this planet, and Earth Hour is just one of those. When you join up with Earth Hour this year, make a commitment to make changes in those other 8759 hours. Drive less. Refuse paper cups and plastic shopping bags in favour of travel mugs and reusable tote bags. Wash your clothes in cold water using eco-friendly detergents2. We only have one planet and turning your lights out for 1 hour a year just isn’t going to be enough.

2. I have a bone to pick with BC Hydro on this whole Earth Hour thing. I noticed something they say in their radio ad promoting Earth Hour and I’ve just checked and it’s on their website too. Here’s a screen shot:

Notice anything off in the text? Take a closer look:

Unnecessary lights? Are you kidding me? The idea behind Earth Hour isn’t that you just turn off lights in rooms where you aren’t. It’s to turn off all your lights. You should always turn off unnecessary lights, every single hour of every single day! Turning off unnecessary lights is not making a statement! And they have this text on their website directly under the Earth Hour & WWF logos, making you really think this is representing the WWF‘s Earth Hour. That’s lame BC Hydro… big time lame!


OK, so turn off your lights at 8 p.m. today for one whole hour… I’m sure you can find something fun to do by candlelight during that time, no?   And make it the first of many many more eco-friendly hours, the whole year through!

1Or, in this case of leap years like this year, 8784 hours.
2Looking for ideas? Check out the blog Green is Sexy for daily tips on living a greener life.3
3Although I do take issue with their willingness to post giant pictures of spiders4
4This post is NSFA (not safe for arachnophobes).

Comments |11|

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  • Beth,

    Earth Day was supposed to be exactly that (lights and unnecessary appliances), so it’s not BC Hydro being lame. I agree that it *should* be ALL lights as opposed to UNNECESSARY lights, but that’s how the program was promoted/designed.

    Another good green blog is TreeHugger. I would promote mine as a good environmental blog, but it’s not really… it’s more the Random Thoughts of a Student of the Environment 🙂 And yeah, it’s a very random blog (peppered with some environmental stuff.


  • Raul,

    If you read that, it says “lights and unnecessary appliances”, *not* “unnecessarily lights and appliances.” The “unnecessary” in that phase only applies to appliances, not lights. So I stick by my statement that BC Hydro IS being lame – they have changed it from *all* lights to just *unnecessary* ones.

    I’ll have to check out those blogs your recommend… I’ve never heard of them! Have you read Green is Sexy?


  • No, hadn’t read Green is Sexy, but will have to get on with it. I do enjoy reading your blog, as your path of experiences mirrors mine *oh so much* … really. Plus you have funny posts quite often. I found the footnotes give the blog an “academic” feel (after all, it’s Dr. Beth Snow, isn’t it ;))

    Have a nice weekend!


  • This morning at Sobey’s, there was a sign on their door announcing their intent to support Earth Hour by keeping on just the necessary lights. My thought was (and I meant to write this before Earth Hour, when I turned off my laptop) if those extra lights are not necessary, why are they on in the first place?


  • Reply

  • Earth Hour is idiotic… and dangerous. By stated facts, dividing down Australia’s gross national product, if every city in Australia were to participate in Earth Hour it would cost an estimated $50,000,000.00 in lost productivity, even at night. That is the salary of 1000 jobs for an entire year! All to stave off how much pollution exactly?

    Enough to fill one medium sized thimble. That’s right.

    That is the consequence of Gunpoint Environmentalism: Poverty.


  • I took part in Earth Hour and enjoyed the peace and quiet.
    Earth Hour was meant as a statement and to raise awareness of the impact we as humans have on our environment. Raising awareness is what brings about actions and what we can do to bring about changes in this world….was Rosa Parks refusal to give up her seat on a bus a “thimble size” gesture …maybe so but it was the catalyst that brought about much needed change. Any time a voice is raised to make people aware and promotes action is doing good. We as consumers are able to make an active choice rather than having changes forced on us. Are we going to wait for sanctions to force us into changes that will imapct our quality of life such as forced down time due to our current path of wasting resources? I would prefer to choose when I shut down my power or conserve water instead of continuing our current path of blindly ignoring what we are doing to this world.
    I for one spent a lovely hour enjoying a couple of Bacardi Breezers (which by the way taste like Creamsicles in a bottle) on my terrrace and thoroughly enjoying the starlit night at the end of the hour.
    I bid you Peace!


  • Hey Aunt Lynn!

    I agree that raising awareness is very important first step in making change and that’s why I chose to blog about Earth Hour to remind people that Earth Hour on its own isn’t enough – we need to use it as a start to making more eco-friendly choices all the time.

    Sheila – where did you get your information from? $50 million dollars in lost productivity by turning your lights out for 1 hr on a Saturday night?


  • Reply

  • @Jorge – Do you really think that’s what they meant? I mean, my guess is that the average person would interpret “unnecessary lights” as “lights I’m not using right now” as opposed to truly *unnecessary* lights. Even the WWF doesn’t refer to “unnecessary lights” and I’m pretty sure that they don’t expect hospitals and traffic lights to be shut off. Although it would be funny if they did =)


  • Reply

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