(Be sure to watch the video above — it is beautiful.)
If you haven’t heard, what has been deemed the largest grassroots environmental movement in history — Earth Hour — is tomorrow evening at 8:30pm (your time). Millions of people, a number of large companies, world monuments, and more will switch off their lights and electrical devices at this time to save electricity, help the environment, and stimulate more action on this front.
While simply engaging in a 1-hour action turns me off a little bit, given that there are about 8759 more hours in the year, I think the momentum that such events generate is where the real benefit exists. And it’s good to see that this year there is a strong push to “go beyond the hour.”
Education, showing how easy it is to be a little greener, and the momentum of such a fun event is what makes this event useful.
Earth Hour’s Roots
Over on Planetsave, Shellee Tyler recently covered the upcoming event and shared a little more on the origins of Earth Hour and how it has grown over 5 short years. Here’s a little from that:
Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change. Only a year later and Earth Hour had become a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries/territories participating.
In March 2009, hundreds of millions of people took part in the third Earth Hour. Over 4000 cities in 88 countries/territories officially switched off to pledge their support for the planet, making Earth Hour 2009 the world’s largest global climate change initiative.
On Saturday 27 March, Earth Hour 2010 became the biggest Earth Hour ever. A record 128 countries and territories joined the global display of climate action. Iconic buildings and landmarks from Asia Pacific to Europe and Africa to the Americas switched off.
Countering the Earth Hour Haters
Another one of our writers over on Planetsave had another excellent piece on the upcoming event that countered the ridiculous claims and arguments of a certain infamous global warming denier. Here’s a piece of that:
In his smug, willful ignorance, McKitrick assumes the intent is to “shame” people into “sitting in darkness for an hour” that they should forsake the modern world for a return “back to nature.”
If McKitrick is ashamed, it is his own doing. It is disingenuous to put that motivation on Earth Hour. Such motivation or intent is proffered, expressed or implied, only by McKitrick himself.
If anything, it is an appeal to the common humanity that unites us, not “anti-humanism,” that motivates organizers and participants of Earth Hour:
“The highlight of Earth Hour 2011 will see the world’s most iconic landmarks go dark for one designated hour, as hundreds of millions of people transcend race, religion, culture, society, generation and geography, switching off their lights in a global celebration of their commitment to protect the one thing that unites us all – the planet.”
The symbolism of a darkened hour is not to shame people into some return to brutish nature, but an act of unity and hope for the future.
Despite McKitrick’s assertions, perhaps “anti-humanism” rests in the rejection of science, in resource exploitation that borrows against future generations (and whole generations of people now alive), and denying that even the most advanced and humanitarian society rests upon and depends on the nature from which we’ve arisen — in the soil, water, and air upon which all life is based. The fruits of humanity’s labor and ingenuity can only truly thrive in living with, if not in, nature. For McKitrick, nature is merely a place one visits.
McKitrick throws up a false dichotomy — one that serves little purpose in lighting the way toward a thriving and sustainable future.
Read the rest of the piece here: Does Earth Hour Demonize Electricity?
Earth Hour is a useful, fun, inspirational event that I hope you can participate in and profusely enjoy. Let us know how you are spending it if you have any special plans.
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Image Credit: Vajrasattva