I have never been a fan of earth hour and was contemplating writing an article explaining why I find it is pointless, but Maggie Koerth-Baker saved me the trouble:
This Saturday, thousands of people will voluntarily spend an evening without electrictricity. No lights. No television. No computers. They’ll eat dinner by candlelight, maybe light up a bonfire in the backyard and roast some marshmallows. They’ll think they’re saving energy and doing something good for the planet.
But I’m not so sure about that.
The most important takeaway message:
Other people see it and come away thinking that all they have to do is shut off some lights sometimes, and everything will be fixed. It’s easy to throw a party once a year and hang out with your friends in the dark, but real change is difficult, and it doesn’t really happen at home…
The solutions to our energy problems don’t start with individuals shutting the lights off at home. They start with public policy — the only force that can actually change how the infrastructure and shared systems work. Whether the promoters of events such as Earth Hour intend to or not, they send the message that energy change is about voluntary individual choices and choosing not to use the infrastructure and shared systems. Yet if you look at what the experts say — in the plans where scientists and analysts map out how we can actually make the biggest energy changes in the least amount of time — you’ll find that their message is exactly the opposite. The more we encourage people to think that change is about individual choices, the harder it is to get the real change accomplished.