Today people are going to make a stand for the earth by participating in Earth Hour, where they all turn off their lights for one hour. It seems to be a great way to bring attention to that fact that we all use too much electricity unnecessarily.
But I wonder, will Earth Hour change the way people think? It is definitely a start, but are the cities and corporations that are turning off their unnecessary lighting for an hour going to flick that switch right back on at 9:31? (Earth hour starts at 8:30 p.m. wherever you live.) Will people be checking their watches to see if they can turn their lights back on yet? Of course, some will, but maybe some will find a new way of thinking in that dark hour. A new way of doing things.
We definitely don’t need all the lights we turn on throughout the course of a day. We don’t need to leave our outside lights on. And I think we should go farther. Electronics use phantom loads. They use electricity even though they are turned off. It’s not hard to be electrically conservative. I live this everyday, and turning things off, all the way off, is second nature now that I’ve been doing it for so long.
So what can people do to use less power? Turn off lights when you aren’t using them, of course. But go further. Do you really need that light? Could you just open the curtain? Could you sit in the same room as someone else and use one light instead of two? Do you use energy efficient light bulbs? Unplug the television/stereo, etc. when you aren’t using it. We have our television system on a power bar so turning it off is just pulling on simple plug, the same with our computer. We don’t use outside lights unless it’s necessary. And you won’t find any fancy gadgets here—-no electronic picture frames or electric pencil sharpeners. Sure, these are little things, but if we all can cut out some of the little things, together we can make a big difference.
I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy convenience. Everybody does. But it seems that we may be taking convenience too far. Here we are, thinking that turning off our lights for one hour is an amazing thing, when people lived for centuries without so much as a light bulb, and many people today still live without the conveniences electricity brings. I feel like I can speak to this and see things from both sides. I lived for two years without electricity or running water. Sure, there were inconveniences, but there is also great peace in avoiding some of our modern ways. We can all find a balance that uses much less and perhaps brings us even more. Think about all the things you use that require some sort of power: water and sewage pumps, transportation, heating, etc. What do you hold most dear without even realizing it? What could you live without? In Pakistan they are being forced to undergo a 14 hour blackout. I bet they wish it was only turning off the lights for an hour.
Here's a link to an interesting article that gives alot to think about.