Saturday, March 26, 2011

Earth Hour

Tonight, at 8.30 pm, we're turning off our lights in support of Earth Hour.

It all began in 2007, in Sydney, with more than two million people switching off lights and lighting up candles. Businesses also got involved. Since then, Earth Hour has gone from a local event to a global one with 128 countries joining in during 2010.

Started by the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour seeks to bring attention to climate change and our role in it, but their over-arching mission is to 'build a future where people live in harmony with nature'. (A noble, but ultimately impossible goal, unless repressive population control is introduced on a global scale.)

When we turn off the lights tonight, we won't be thinking about climate change, but an hour's worth of lighting we won't be paying for. (Reading by candlelight is hell on the eyes.)

I think Earth Hour still has a new and shiny sheen to it. An hour by candlelight instead of electricity also has a romanticism. Sixty minutes is long enough for people to know they've 'done their bit', but not so long as to be irritating. And while the website urges people to keep the lights off for longer, their call comes across as vaguely Luddite-ish.

But my question is this: candles emit smoke from the burning wax, if everyone in the world returned to the days of candles, what effect is this having on the environment?

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