Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour

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.


  1. i am not against this switch off the light stuff but this world is running on technology now and one hour switch off means a lose. So just keep the light switched ON or what about a stone age as we already change our life style So no need to look back. Its too late now :)
    and i belongs from that part of the world (Pakistan) where we can see a very less light so we are the biggest participants :) Things will change. plz go ahead if you want to. OK switching off

  2. I had to laugh at my son earlier. He was so serious about making sure we turned out the lights at 8:30, but then wanted his dad to drive him across the city to go to a movie when it was over.

    I asked him the same thing. Why should earth hour stop at 9:30? He blank stared at me and said, "Well, shoot. Maybe we can go tomorrow then."


  3. "In Pakistan they are being forced to undergo a 14 hour blackout"
    Hey we are not forced, we are facing energy crisis. Come on

  4. I don't believe that you are able to opt out of the blackout, therefore by definition you are being forced. I don't mean it hostile terms whatsoever. An energy crisis forces people to use less energy.
    Thanks for sharing some of your thoughts, Zohaib.