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Earth Hour

I wasn’t going to say anything but it seems like I am the only one on the interwebz that hasn’t and I feel left out.

Symbolic gestures like Earth Hour are great at doing what they are designed to do. Namely, make people feel like they are doing something positive, when in reality their actions have no effect or a negative effect. For example, and this isn’t true everywhere, in many cases while energy consumption will shrink when a bunch of people shut their lights off, energy production is unlikely to do so.

It’s even worse if there is really such a significant drop in demand that supply is lowered as well. This is an issue for a country like France that gets a huge proportion of their energy from sources like nuclear reactors, already contributing very little carbon to the mix. Power plants of many varieties can’t be ramped up quickly, so when demand drops suddenly, and the plant slows production, an hour later when everyone turns their lights back on, guess where that energy is coming from while they work to boost the “clean” energy supplies back up?

Power plants burning fossil fuels. Had everyone left their lights on in France, the net amount of carbon dioxide released would have been lower. Somewhat ironic that Earth Hour actually has a net negative effect in some places.

Another, somewhat funny, but also unfortunate result of some cities participation, they turn the damn street lights (and in some places the traffic lights) off. Yes, the street lights. It’s not like we need those for anything.

And lets be serious here, it’s simple and easy to turn your lights off for an hour, but if you really want to save the world, turn your power off entirely. Unplug the refrigerator that keeps your food fresh and safe to eat, let your ipad, computer, cell phone, GPS, and such run dry. If all you want is a symbolic gesture than good job, but I ignore Earth Hour, and frankly I may even have used more energy than I would have otherwise.

If you don’t want your standard of living, I’ll take it. Have fun in medieval times without that evil creation, “energy”.


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