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Earth Hour killed – By ignorance and hype

March 25, 2009

You wanna do what during Earth Hour? Leave your TVs and computers and do something that emits even more Co2?

That was my reaction when I overheard what some people plan to do this Saturday to answer the call of Earth Hour. Instead of staying home and using up electricity, they’ll go on a long-postponed picnic. The spot is apparently some waterfall a couple of hours drive away and they’ll go in 4-5 cars, presumably one for each couple.

I admire the spirit but one part of me was going duh…

Earth Hour is about saving the planet from man-made carbon emissions. Okay, this is probably a good time to talk about carbon footprints. That picnic basket isn’t as innocent as it looks, as you might know. The food and drink you pack took raw materials, energy, machinery, manpower, and transportation to get to you – activities that by themselves burn up fuel and emit the very Co2 you’re trying to reduce. Your drive to and from the picnic spot will burn up another tank of fuel. Total up all the carbon emitted and you got your picnic’s carbon footprint. Still think picnic is better than staying home hanging out in Facebook?

A friend also told me about an Earth Hour party that some college dudes in the US are organizing, complete with booze and live bands on stage. Locally I’m hearing about some street party being organized. Ah, the fuel everyone will burn just to get there and back, not to mention the kilowatts the organizers will burn to drive the spotlights, PA system and music. Good lordy.

This Saturday I’ll probably stay home all day, have all appliances except the fridge turned off, do my qigong practice in the morning, Wing Chun practice in the afternoon and spend the rest of the day reading. I’ll probably survive on a diet of fruits and plain water for the day. No kilowatt-busting parties for me, no travel, no hype.

Earth Hour is a great way to get people to do something good. Lets understand what is it that we’re doing and why.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. March 25, 2009 10:01 am

    Totally agree with you on this. I wonder if people actually know WHY there is earth hour.

    The ads I’ve seen seem to emphasize what to do rather than why. But people are reacting to it and that’s crucial. Maybe the “why” can come next year?

  2. March 25, 2009 10:18 am


    Thanks for visiting my blog. πŸ™‚

  3. March 25, 2009 11:19 am

    totally agree with your point.. =)

    Thanks for visiting. πŸ™‚

  4. March 25, 2009 11:21 am

    Hhaha, same with me. I rather stay home and be with my family than to go out partying. I thought Earth Hour is for everyone to reflect on what we have done to Earth, and also do some self-searching thingy, so when it is over, we will help to make this planet a better place?

    What has partying got to do with that?

    Aren’t we youngsters always looking for an excuse to party. πŸ™‚

    The people I spoke to are doing it (turning their lights off for 1 hour on Sat) because they feel its a cool thing to do. I think it’ll take time for the soul searching part to happen but at least this is a start.

  5. March 25, 2009 12:49 pm

    The purpose for this earth hour is not ask you to stop the activity of the day or emit more Co2, its to let u aware to safe unused electric for the rest of the day such as switch off light that is not use

    True, and environmentally the act of switching off the lights is to reduce carbon emissions resulting from all the diesel or coal we burn to generate electricity. Power generation and consumprion is one of the big culprits behind global warming.

  6. March 25, 2009 11:23 pm

    I wonder why the Earth hour is not on a working day. I will be very happy to switch off anything. πŸ˜›

    LOL, excellent point! But then, they were smart enuf to tell us to switch off at 8.30-9.30pm so unless you’re on the graveyard shift, you won’t get to enjoy it. πŸ™‚

  7. March 26, 2009 10:31 am

    I thought it’s just a publicity drive to get people aware enough to consciously save energy. e.g. switch off lights, TV, fans, etc not in use. Reduce excesses. But what do power suppliers do with the excess if everybody switch off everything completely? You can’t ‘save’ it for another day.

    You’re right, power plants can’t “save” electricity and neither can consumers. They can only vary electrical generation and usage. The generation side probably has load monitors to vary output based on demand. But saving on the electric bill is not the intent of Earth Hour I believe. Its a message about global warming. Problem is the tv ads don’t seem to link electrical consumption with the warming of the planet very well, unfortunately.

  8. March 26, 2009 10:37 am

    I think there’s a lot more awareness this year compared to last year, so this is a positive step.

    Definitely a lot more needs to happen post-event, but at least more youngsters are getting involved and it’s becoming cool and hip to talk about climate change.

    Oh yeah, that’s for sure. πŸ™‚ Getting young people to talk about it is already a feat in my opinion.

  9. tinytapir permalink
    March 28, 2009 10:08 am

    valid points. when i first heard about earth hour i said something like “i wonder how many malaysians are going to be switching off their lights and sitting inside a dark AIR CONDITIONED ROOM for an hour”.

    we’ll be at Capsquare tonight, but only as we hope to get some people to think about the other issues – like plastic water bottles and reusable bags. otherwise i’d be staying at home.

    Not quite sure if using candles is really in the true spirit though. Candles also require raw materials to make and require transportation.

    Sigh. what to do . damned if you do and damned if you don’t i suppose.

    Yeah, just being alive has fixed overheads. What people can do in my opinion is try and lead a life that is carbon neutral. Know what your yearly carbon footprint is and do something that would offset it. The simplest is to plant 2-3 trees for every year because the plants absorb the same amount of carbon you would produce.

    Its good to see you spread the conservationist lifestyles through your business. πŸ™‚


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