Well, the time has come again….Earth Hour 2010 is scheduled for Saturday, March 27th at 8:30pm. Millions of individuals, businesses, cities and government offices around the globe are gearing up to go dark in order to show their support towards creating a cleaner, greener and safer future.
It’s a simple action really, but with a global “joining of forces” it becomes a massive way for people to show they want to, and are willing to, do something that can make a difference.
Last year nearly 1 billion people turned out for Earth Hour 2009. 4100 cities in 88 countries on 7 continents made it clear they wanted to make a difference. Over 80 million Americans and over 300 U.S. cities pledged their commitment by going dark during Earth Hour 2009.
Landmarks including the Empire State Building, the Las Vegas Strip, U.N. Headquaters, the Seattle Space Needle, Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Great Pyramids of Giza, St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Big Ben in London, Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Sydney Opera House were amongst the many locations worldwide to show their support during Earth Hour 2009.
This year’s Earth Hour is expected to reach even further, with the WWF estimating thousands of cities in at least 115 countries will be active participants in Earth Hour 2010. Over 5.5 million people have already pledged their commitment and if you want to be one of them, pledge your commitment here.
While some may see Earth Hour as merely a symbolic act, others see it as a way to unite and show their desire to make a difference. In all candidness, what do you think of Earth Hour 2010?
As far as my personal view, I think it’s a great way for people to join together to show their support and interest in making this a better world. However, I also feel that many companies, cities and others may be using it as a way to make it appear they are “going green” and are making BIG changes, when that isn’t necessarily the case.
Let me give you an example…the State of California is listed as an “official Earth Hour state” and has pledged to turn off the lights on the State Capitol building during Earth Hour 2010. A number of cities and towns are also pledging their support, Mayors are signing declarations designating March 27th, 2010 at 8:30pm as “Earth Hour”. Over 90 California schools, 41 universities, 94 organizations and 278 businesses have also signed the pledge.
While all this is great news, why does it take a global movement to get these states, cities, governments, companies, schools and individuals to turn off all non-essential lighting? And why are they only willing to do it for one hour? If they were serious about making a change, not to mention saving money, wouldn’t you think they would ALWAYS turn off non-essential lighting?
You and I know that in order to save money and use less electricity we can do simple things like turn off lights when they aren’t in use, unplug unnecessary equipment or put them on power strips to prevent them from sucking energy when they aren’t in use, switch to energy-efficient lighting, etc, etc. Why aren’t companies, cities, governments and countries doing the same thing on a daily basis?
Take the WWF’s Climate Savers program. It’s currently in its 11th year yet only has 21 corporate members. The program is designed to work with corporations to improve efficiency and reduce emissions, yet only 21 corporations (albeit some of the world’s largest corporations) have gotten on board.
But did you know that the WWF estimated that by 2010 those 21 Climate Saver companies would have cut carbon emissions by approximately 14 million tons annually? Just think of what could be done with more companies on board.
For anyone who may be a little skeptical of Earth Hour, the WWF has no illusions about the impact of Earth Hour 2010. In their own “Blueprint for Individuals” they state:
“We know that the amount of energy saved during one hour won’t be enough to save our planet from the potentially devastating impacts of climate change, but that misses the true purpose of Earth Hour. Earth Hour seeks to provide a forum in which people can engage on climate issues and find ways in their own lives to become part of the solution to this global threat.”
So maybe, for that one hour on March 27th at 8:30pm you will plunge into darkness along with the millions and millions of other people around the globe who are attending Earth Hour 2010. After that hour…that’s up to you. You’ll probably want to check out some longer-term energy saving tips though, that might also help ensure your home energy costs don’t get you down. See you there!