Here is some news from around the world about Earth Hour 2009
In South Africa, it has been reported that 4.7 million 60 watt light bulbs were switched off, saving about 400 megawatts of power that evening. As far as statistics around the world over a billion people (across 25 time zones) reportedly took part in the event. Source – Phuthu.co.za
Earth hour is largely a symbolic statement, and whether or not it makes a dent at all in the overall environmental scene on the planet is a point of contention.
While some feel that Earth Hour helps to raise awareness of energy efficiency and global environmental issues, others feel that it is too symbolic, while remaining largely ineffective, and that it even serves to give a false sense of accomplishment.
In a very well written, if cynical, post , one blogger gives a surprisingly well-thought out and accurate overview of what really would be being done, if we were to tackle world-wide pollution and fuel-depletion issues on a truly effective scale. One thing he brought up caught my attention – the obvious aspect of any solution which would involve putting those on unemployment benefits to work, planting trees. Since high school I have wondered why the unemployed aren’t simply put to work by the government to help clean up the environment, in return for their welfare hand-outs. As he also pointed out, taxing carbon emissions (as opposed to taxing commendable actions such as producing products and earning money) and using the money to purchase solar panels and renewable energy solutions would be both workable and logical. Alas, perhaps too logical? This blogger’s view on Earth Hour is not as optimistic as some. “They send the message that all is ok if you just flick off a switch for an hour,” he says. “We don’t need Earth Hour. We need Earth YEAR or DECADE.”
Not everyone has a sour view on Earth Hour. Some see it as a way to raise global awareness and co-operation over environmental issues. Others, while recognizing that symbolism isn’t enough, consider that the symbolism is at least a start.
As is pointed out in several blogs and news sites, such as Business Week, its doubtful if much power was actually saved during Earth Hour. The point being that power companies produce a certain amount of power at any given time, based on usual and expected requirements. The amount of power generated by a power plant is not purely dependent on how much power is demanded and used at that moment. Thus, a momentary one-hour switch off will not, in the long run, make much difference.
Others found the lights-out experience to be calming, relaxing, and reminiscent of simpler times.