Last year when the Sydney Earth Hour was conducted, followed by Light’s Out London, I was not very happy with the initiative. Now this year, with more than 20 cities participating, it has become an internation event.
Well, the Earth Hour organizers say that “Earth Hour is about more than one night. Its about inspiring you everyday to make changes that will help achieve Earth Hour’s ultimate goal of reducing emissions by 5%.” That is good. Like some of the comedy lines on the radio, hopefully people did not switch off their lights and switched on their Plasma TVs to watch how much energy they saved.
However, the measurement systems used by their official releases do not suggest that.
The press release on AFP says that
Tens of millions of people switched off lightbulbs this weekend as part of a global campaign to throw the spotlight on climate change, organisers of the Australian-led ‘Earth Hour’ initiative said.
“We had 2.2 million last year; I reckon by the time we finally count it up, we will have about 100 million people involved around the world,” he said.
Energy Australia, which supplies much of Sydney’s electricity, said a drop of about 8.4 percent in energy usage had been recorded in the city during the hour, equivalent to 1.6 million light bulbs being switched off.
It is not important how much energy consumption decreased in the cities that participated for that hour but it will be interesting to see how many people were informed and involved in energy conservation before the event and how many increased their understanding after the event. That would be a good outcome.
100 million participants is a big number either way.
The issue is whether participants understand this to be a small part of the challenge or whether they think that energy conservation is easy. As we can see from the articles all around the world, the entire effort was on switching off lights but not on general energy conservation principles.