Earth Hour Observance: What’s the point?

The City of Minneapolis will observe Earth Hour by shutting off all non-essential lights from 7-8pm on Saturday, March 29.

I’m sure some of those big office buildings will see a (teeny, tiny) bit of a dip in their Xcel bill. It is significant in that 7-8pm on a Saturday is a pretty busy time for downtown what with all the bar-goers, dinner-goers, theater-goers, etc. So it’ll certainly be noticed.

But what do we really get out of this? The idea is that everyone else in the city will follow suit. So we all bust out the batteries, sit in the quiet, and sketch out our personal conservation plans by candlelight? Do we get to hear back how much energy was saved by the city in the effort?

The Earth Hour movement encourages you to sign up, thus triggering the flow of information-packed email to your inbox. (Strangely, they link to a Facebook application for an environmental footprint calculator. Try the original source.) If the city is making a show of its participation, how about spending the money they save on energy on citizen education? Or funnel it to non-profits that provide such education.

I’m not opposed to energy conservation, but I think Earth Hour ends up being more of an inconvience than a learning opportunity or an awareness raiser. Wouldn’t kill anyone to put down the internet and read a book for an hour, though.

(via Maria Energia)

2 Comments so far

  1. mariaenergia on March 24th, 2008 @ 9:18 pm

    I have really conflicted feelings over these sorts of efforts, too. On the one hand, it makes us talk about energy efficiency (which we are), but I think it only makes sense if the city, the businesses and the buildings downtown actually implement sustaining energy efficiency measures. It’s good to do a big event like this that grabs attention, but the really worthwhile effort has to be ongoing.

    Thanks for the link –

  2. Erica M (ericam) on March 25th, 2008 @ 8:14 am

    It occurred to me that perhaps this is what Earth Day is all about. (The education part of it all.)

    Still, seems like a lot of bluster on the part of the city.

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