Earth Hour, Dim Participation

Posted: March 27, 2011 in Current Events, Environment

News reports on Earth Hour show that it was met with a dim level of participation this year.  I turned out my lights and lit my candles, but then again I like blackouts.

I also took a drive around the community to check out the scene in a small suburban town, away from the hype of the big city.

What I found didn’t surprise me.  Far less than 50% or the houses were blacked out or dimmed, and a lot that were, probably were away on a Sat. evening.  A few apartment buildings were the easiest to gauge and here again more than half of the unit windows were illuminated with many of the dark ones just not being home.

But my main interest was in the industrial and commercial areas.  I was surprised at how many businesses are still open at 9 p.m. on a Saturday night.  Fast food places, hotels, bank machines, convenience stores all really were not in a position to extinguish their lights, and these made up almost half of the total businesses visible.  Of the other commercial stores, only a few had street signs turned off (which would be really easy to do).  Box stores were fully lit up, including their empty parking lots.  In the industrial park, businesses that didn’t operate on the weekend were lit up like daylight, especially their mammoth parking lots.

A few cars here now, but it looks the same at 2 a.m.

One unexpected and pleasant surprise was my bank.  It’s advertising signs were turned off, except for the lights immediately around and above the bank machine.  I don’t know whether this is a regular power saving policy, but it was the kind of thing I’d hoped to see.

Generally, when I drove downhill into the town  of Newmarket, or looked at Toronto from a high vantage, there was no real difference from its normal bright illumination.  I’m sure many people felt the same way, which is clearly going to dampen enthusiasm, not to mention inspiration.

Energy reform starts with big business.  Getting the public excited is important because it makes it easier to put pressure on big business, but that’s really all.  There are lots of questions out there about whether even our recycling program has a significant environmental impact.  Until big business gets in line with environmental priorities, grass roots initiatives are going to be a drop in the bucket.

  1. vetrovpravda says:

    My research in proving the futility of Earth Hour, and how there is a hidden agenda in place has been published for consumption today: please refer to this updated link:

    • pwiinholt says:

      To state that some of the rhetoric about Global Warming is an illusion and overstatement to promote certain interests is not the same as all of it being an illusion. I agree that that certain claims about Global Warming have been over dramatized, and this may be due to either a desire to mobilize support through sensationalism, or to secure funding for certain business interests. As Gore certainly sensationalized Global Warming, but even Bjorn Lomborg (Gore’s critic and author of The Skeptical Environmentalist) states that Global Warming is a fact to be reconned with. This discrediting of Global Warming at the Environmental Summit several years ago was shown to be a reactionary plot. In time, most of the claims discrediting Global Warming were proven false, -but that did not make the splash in the news that the original story did.
      There is no doubt that issues around Global Warming can be exploited and twisted by big business, the same way as can be issues surrounding things like cancer research or evolution. The fact remains that alternative energy sources are critical to the future and require major funding in order to be viable. Will the fight for funding be dirty and result in manipulation of public opinion? Certainly it will. And we must attempt to be vigilant in order to insure that it proceeds in the best interest of everyone. (Although it might already be too late for that. I’m sure that the current major energy moguls have a lot of alternative energy breakthroughs already tied up.)
      “Bright Green” environmentalism is a movement that recognizes that environmental progress can only come about with the cooperation of big business. Design, packaging and energy flow will be the concepts that make or break us, -and they are only available on the large scale.

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