Monday, March 31, 2008

Earth Hour

I was all for Earth Hour when I first read about it thanks to some well placed brochures in the civic centre. Over the last few weeks, I have been consistently reminded about the event via promotional materials (ie stickers on doors of businesses, postcard-type ads, etc). Then everyone reminded me a few days before, and the radio talked about it non-stop. Sure, I thought, I can turn out the lights for a while (although I can't promise I won't have my laptop on doing work).

When Earth hour finally came, we decided to take a walk and enjoy the relative darkness outside. To my dismay, the only real difference I noted was the multitude of low flying aircraft no doubt carrying photographers and videographers to capture this momentous event. So how many light bulbs went out to cancel out one helicopter hovering for an hour?

We came home after our city's monuments lit back up at 9pm and decided to read some news. More to my dismay were the number of people boasting about celebrating the Earth Hour via candle light or bonfire. I had to think to myself, what emits more CO2, one compact fluorescent light bulb or a candle?

So the irony of it all is that I think it took more energy to produce the promotional materials than the 5-10% energy reduction for an hour around the world, and the candle light dinners and wood burning fires easily negated the carbon emission reduction from our coal fired generators. After all this I think I am more aware of the need to conserve electricity... and we'll do that by polluting more?

I'm wondering if I should spend my hour of darkness pondering the woes of the environment in a hot tub with scented candles... I'm sure that'll fix things.