Earth Hour

Heard of Earth Hour?

Important stuff first: 8:30 to 9:30, this Saturday, March the 28th, your own local time. Turn out all the lights you can while still being safe (so keep your headlights on). The idea is to show solidarity and a will to change the course we're on in terms of energy, global warming, and electricity.

Website here. If you're going to do it (and you god damn should!) then sign up, let them know you're supporting them. Then head somewhere high and see how many lights in your city click off at 8:30.

Edward Norton, awesome man that he is, is the American front-man for this operation, which originated in Sydney, Australia, and has been moved forward with the help of the WWF (the wildlife dudes, not the other ones). Personally, I've been a fan of Norton ever since Death to Smoochy, so rock on, you angry Nazi you.

But, in what's quickly becoming my style, let's go a little deeper.

Personally, I believe in education and understanding above everything else - it even says so in the blog description, so it must be true! (I also believe in using hyphens to separate clauses, but that's just because I'm weird.) So it's natural that I support this, like, hard. I think I even have a bit of a crush on this; it combines energy/climate change awareness with a potentially awesome spectacle; buildings like the Capitol Records tower and the Empire State Building are going dark for an hour. In the short hand, it's gonna rock.

Will it be effective?

Well, Earth Hour (am I supposed to capitalize this? I can't tell) has happened just twice before - it started in 2007. And they've gone from 1 city worldwide to 400 in the US to, now, thousands and thousands expected to participate this year. That, by itself, sounds pretty successful.

So I guess the question I'm really trying to ask is whether awareness - or, in this case, participation in what could be called the greatest thing to happen to candle-makers in the last several decades - matters. On the one hand, of course it does. On the other - does this event transition into greater commitment to environmentalism in general, and a movement forward of the agenda?

Common sense says duh, and it's all got to start somewhere. The fact that most people aren't outraged and worried is - to me - a sign that they don't know enough about the situation we're in. Maybe this'll get some more people curious.

And with the growing success of this, and the ever-awesome Earth Day just around the corner, and the Do Not Drive Day lurking somewhere in the calender year, I guess the question becomes whether there are any more days that can be added to the year that are just as cool and awareness creating.


Local food potluck day? Make a garden day? Shut-off-your-house's-power day? March on the nearest coal plant day? Picket and boycott senators until they agree to a carbon cap n' trade? Play-outside day? Hm.


Found a really interesting tidbit on the earthhour.org site on China and India's involvement. In short, China is trying to turn out all their municipal buildings, and India is putting out the call in newspapers and so on (we'll have to wait and see how far they get, of course, but it's promising).


WWF's Global Climate Initiative China Director Ms. Yanli Hou said the strong support for Earth Hour in China and India is undermining one of the central arguments used in parts of the developed world to resist taking strong action on climate change."For too long people have been saying that they can't tackle climate change until China and India do so too. The success of Earth Hour shows that the people of these countries are in fact ready and willing to take the lead on climate change," said Ms Hou.

And it's true, to a certain extent.

China is currently building the first zero-emission city in the world, and whatever ecological damage the Three Gorges Dam does (along with the hundreds of other new Chinese dams) at least it cuts down in carbon dioxide emitting.

It brings up a question I want to spend some time on soon - to what extent do we worry about the environment in our hurry to prevent the damage from climate change? It seems a little contradictory - to me, at least - but there are well-known people willing to do whatever is necessary to get us below 450 and back to pre-industrial levels. I think it's a fascinating question - and sooner or later, we've gotta square with it.

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