Monday, March 30, 2009

Disappointing Earth

On Saturday, the hour from 8:30 to 9:30pm was designated "Earth hour". The idea started in Australia, and its purpose is to cut down on energy consumption for that hour. In most cases, this means shutting off extra lights, computers, and other unused appliances in one's house.

We lit a few candles, shut off all our lights (we use the non-incandescent bulbs anyway), the network computers in our house, and did not turn on the TV, even though one of the programs we regularly watch was scheduled for that time.

I looked out our windows during that hour. Sad to say, I noticed absolutely no difference from the normal situation. All our neighbours' lights were on as usual, the highrises in our neighbourhood were lit up like Christmas trees (as usual), and the sky did not look one whit darker (it was as light-polluted as ever). If I want to be charitable, I'll say that most people did not even know about this hour; otherwise I have to assume that people around us just don't give a damn.

As it turns out, our city, along with many others, saved less energy this time than last year. What does that say about individual people's attitude towards "Global Warming" and climate change?


  1. I agree Karl. Clive and I also particpated this year. We shut of all our lights and such, and played board games by candlelight, but when I looked out our window, I didn't see another person on our street doing it, except maybe the people across the street (who also may not have been home).
    Perhaps it was not publicized enough. I know in Toronto, and other cities across Canada, they had large outdoor festivals to celebrate the hour (eg. Nathan Phillips Square). I didn't hear anything of that in Vancouver/Burnaby. Maybe the whole thing was overshadowed by the Junos this year? I heard of some restaurants "going dark", and also that some people had "dark" dinner parties, which I think is a wonderful idea (hmm, maybe next year). I also know that many Vancouver businesses participated, but I'm with you in that it was not as far-reaching as I'd hoped. I did expect to look out my window and see other dark homes.

  2. I only heard about Earth Hour after the fact (I'd participated in previous years, but couldn't remember when it was). I feel bad that my lights were on and I was going about my business, but it's not my fault if I didn't know about it. And, at the same time, I get paid per hour and work most days of the week from home, so participating would've meant a loss of money to me this Saturday (or a loss of sleep later).

    Surely the advertisement/public notice could've been more obvious this year.