My lights are going to be burning bright tonight at 8:30.
I am not one for symbolic gestures. I believe if you are devoting effort towards an action, that action should be driving towards something. Not just an amorphous goal of 'awareness' - as if there's anyone capable of reading this post who isn't already aware of the issues of human induced climate change, or the issue of wasting resources - and not towards a goal of making people 'feel good' or that they 'made a difference'. Making everyone feel they did something leaves us with a problem still at hand while 'Mission Accomplished' banners wave about.
But what irks me about Earth Hour, particularly moreso than other efforts, is that people make their symbolic gesture by accellerating the problem they're supposedly fighting.
A candle produces 11g of CO2. If your power is coming from a hydro-electric or nuclear plant, as is much of ours in Ontario, a 40 watt bulb is going to produce only 0.16g of CO2.
Even if you're in a place where it's burning coal that brings you your electricity, that bulb is only producing 32g of CO2.
Watch this year's promo video http://youtu.be/FovYv8vf5_E
and it's clear people aren't just burning one candle each.
You have people in a room with a dozen candles (as pictured below) that is still darker than if they turned on a single light bulb and yet are producing the equivilant CO2 of running half a thousand lights from a nuclear power plant.
This is like deciding to take a stand against the high fat content in salad dressing eating a leg of fried chicken, or deep fried Mars Bar, or a bacon double cheeseburger. And as I eat this fried chicken with all of you I'll know... I'll KNOW
we'll have made a difference. And I'll just feel so good for not having eaten that unhealthy salad this once.
I am not one for symbolic gestures. My lights are going to be on tonight as they are every night, because we don't solve problems by retreating into the darkness.
If you wish to take action as opposed to a gesture, switch your lighting over from incadesscent bulbs to LEDs. Carpool or ride transit. Don't buy bottled water when their is perfectly good water ... the very same water ... from the tap. Take an action that actually accomplishes something and if you must have a symbol, make it a life lived right.