At first, I was impressed with the idea of Earth Hour. The idea of people making the conscious choice to spend an hour without electrical power for one hour seemed like a great spark for further energy conservation activism – even though it wouldn’t accomplish much in itself.
Now I’m seeing what was actually being done during Earth Hour – and it seems to have contained a lot less conservation than it initially appeared. The following graphic is actually from the official Earth Hour web site:
How was that Earth Hour without electrical power if people were online twittering, blogging, uploading photos and videos? The answer is that it wasn’t. Earth Hour arranged for people to turn off their lights, while leaving on appliances that use much more electricity than light bulbs.
Look, I blog. I twitter. I take photographs and videos. I use electricity, so it’s not my place to sit in judgment on people just for using electricity. However, in terms of activism, it seems to be counterproductive for the Earth Hour organizers to actually encourage people to consume electricity during an event that’s supposed to highlight the importance of conservation of electricity.
The lesson is that electrical conservation isn’t as easy as turning off a light bulb now and then. We need to combine more consistent conservation by electricity users with a system that’s more efficient in producing and conveying electricity to our homes, and appliances that are more efficient in using electricity to enable us to stay connected and communicating, as activists need to be.