Saturday, March 27, 2010

Earth Hour: Australia Started It in 2007; 121 Countries Including Saudi Participate in 2010

Earth Hour will occur throughout the world on Saturday March 27, 2010 from 8:30pm-9:30pm local time. During this hour all electricity is to be cut throughout the world, except for non-essentials in an effort to raise awareness of, and take a stand against, global climate change. Canadians will be pleased to know that the Hockey Night in Canada (HNIC) Saturday night broadcast of games is considered essential. Saudi Arabia is participating, as both Arab News, "Saudi Arabia to go dark for an hour",  "Turn off your lights: It's Earth Hour", and the Saudi Gazette, "Earth Hour: A symbolic, significant event",  have reported. Khaleej Times Online signals that this is a first:  "Saudi Arabia to Participate in Earth Hour for the First Time" and is to happen in municipalities throughout the KSA. The blog Earth Hour Jeddah details the event there.

From the official Earth Hour site's About page:

Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million homes and businesses turned their lights off for one hour to make their 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 participating. Global landmarks such as the, Sydney Harbour Bridge, The CN Tower in Toronto, The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Rome’s Colosseum, all stood in darkness, as symbols of hope for a cause that grows more urgent by the hour.
In March 2009, hundreds of millions of people took part in the third Earth Hour. Over 4000 cities in 88 countries officially switched off to pledge their support for the planet, making Earth Hour 2009 the world’s largest global climate change initiative.
Earth Hour 2010 takes place on Saturday 27 March at 8.30pm (local time) and is a global call to action to every individual, every business and every community throughout the world. It is a call to stand up, to take responsibility, to get involved and lead the way towards a sustainable future. Iconic buildings and landmarks from Europe to Asia to the Americas will stand in darkness. People across the world from all walks of life will turn off their lights and join together in celebration and contemplation of the one thing we all have in common – our planet. So sign up now and let’s make 2010 the biggest Earth Hour yet!.
It’s Showtime! Show the world what can be done.

The official Earth Day 2010 video

The following are the satellite photos of Earth taken by American astronaut Sunita Williams, used in a stunning power point presentation by her called Blue Beauty.

The full presentation as a video

The goal for tonight's Earth Hour is to darken the earth sequentially, so that each of these satellite photos, if taken between 20h30 and 21h30 locally in given parts of the world, would be blackened.

Participating in the past, with friends and family, has been a moving experience. I hope you all have/make a chance to share in it. As organizers hope 1 billion will join in, we'd best help out!

What plans do you/did you have for Earth Hour?
How will you/did you spend it? 
With whom?
How will you/did you manage without electricity?
What was your city like?
What impression did this hour of relative darkness give you?
How big a sacrifice was it to spend this time without electricity?
Is it a worthwhile action?
Any other comments, thoughts, experiences?


NidalM said...

I read somewhere that the number of candles and fires burned during Earth hour across the world offsets the greenhouse savings from turning the lights off...

I'm really not sure. But in the end, the point here is symbolic, not to make any real energy savings :P

My favorite Earth day display has been google, that turns its website black for an hour in your timezone (or at least did int he past).

Inal said...

Managing without electricity is something I have lived on a constant basis in Dominican Republic and Yemen, and sporadically in NYC during the city-wide blackouts. In Dominican Republic its a constant of minutes to 25 hours straight - but the phones, beepers, and mobiles continue to work; which is not the case in NY where multi-line phones and mobiles can go off grid because of the signal repeaters and the digital links to electricity. In Yemen, its a normal state of affairs. Sometimes you don't even notice there is no light unless you open a fridge or try to turn on the light.

When the lights go off for me, if it is night time I usually station myself near a candle or a oil lamp to read. We have food that doesn't need cooking, nor storage in cold. We have a good supply of batteries, flash lights, oil lamps and the oil for it. We have in the apartment medium sized plastic containers to hold fresh water or back home tanks with fresh water placed around the compound usually collected during the rains and kept chemically fresh.

I believe the symbolic gesture is necessary for those who have not lived without this commodity for any extended period of time. But I would like for everyone to be aware that we need to prepare for those extended periods of darkness(if not permanent state) especially in the cases of diabetics who need insulin (its refrigerated if in injectable form), who are needing radiation and chemo, and those who are on life support systems. Because for them lights out will mean life's out.

Jay Kactuz said...

This symbolic act is a stupid futile gesture that will do nothing. It is all about feeling good without taking any responsibility or the environment.

Also, as to "global climate change," it has been happening for billions of years. What next? A stand against the law of gravity? Go for it.

AGW is all about money and power. It is a scheme to fill the pockets of a few people. I will change my opinion the day that Al Gore and all the other jet-set celebrities hava a carbon blueprint as small as mine. The past six months have shown how the data has been manipulated and falsified by the "experts" to further their agenda.

countrygirl said...

Jay I agree with you 100% and more ever to turn off and then on the lights of an entire skyscraper/big building or bridge cost more energy than keeping on the lights so as Jay well said this is only a feeling good gesture and by doing so you are using more energy.

Al Gore and his friends when they are hopping around the world is using a private jet and not for sure a commercial plane as by doing so he's contributing in polluting the world...

And btw during middle ages the temperature was higher compared to today's temperature.....

Susanne said...

Oops, I didn't read this in time. It's 8:44 PM and my electricity is still on. :-/

Thanks for letting us know about this though. Interesting!

Chiara said...

A quick note: Earth Hour March 27, 2010 is not the same as Earth Day April 22,2010. While global climate change is the focus of Earth Hour, it is only one core issue among a number of them for Earth Day which is now in its 40th year of drawing attention to broader environmental issues, including conservation and biodiversity, food and agriculture, recycling and waste management, sustainable development, water conservation, a green economy and green schools, and education and advocacy about the environment.

Thanks to all who commented, and pointed out different aspects of Earth Hour and what it symbolizes.

I hope others will share their impressions of Earth Hour, and what they did for the hour!

Jay Kactuz said...

Country girl, at last somebody agrees with me on Cez Chiara. Now I am worried. Maybe the world will end.

These wear-a-ribbon or take-a-walk affairs frustrate me to no end. Not that the causes aren't good, they often are. It is that they are so pointless.

Ever so I often find myself participating in these things, more for others than myself. There is nothing I care about more than autism, but I feel so helpless. I walk and it changes nothing. A million people walk and it still changes nothing. Maybe if they really cared they would go to school and become scientists and find a cure, or donate money to those who have made it a calling to find a cure. Walking does nothing. Excuse me for being so negative but the issue is so frustrating.

This whole why do good people and children suffer thing has been on my mind a lot these last few years and it, unlike other issues, is so exasperating and intellectually jarring.

Anthrogeek10 said...

I agree with you somewhat.

You said: These wear-a-ribbon or take-a-walk affairs frustrate me to no end.

Wearing a ribbon or walking raises awareness. My sister had leukemia and the foundation for that,

raises millions and much of the money goes to the families/victims who need the money due to lost income because of this cancer. My sister was helped by them. My sister went into remission and yes, her success was due to excellent doctors and insurance but TIT helped. It also helps those who want to train for a long distance event for personal reasons. I am somewhat in agreement about the ribbons.


Anthrogeek10 said...

Oh--I do not have a tv so I did not know about this Earth Day. I was taking an exam online. lol

Jay Kactuz said...


I am glad you feel that way. certainly some good is done in that it gives hope. I need hope. Also I don't mind throwing $10 in a box at the end of a walk (always wondering if any of it will actually support research).

Of course leukemia is a medical / physical condition. Anything that relates to the human mind is much more complicated and unknowable. I am not saying that Leukemia is not terrible.

I read your profile in the January edition of Chez Chiara magazine. Interesting.

Chiara said...

NidalM -thanks for your comment and sharing those observations. I think the symbolic value is much higher than the actual energy savings though apparently some large cities have made marked reductions by their efforts for that hour. It is more about heightening awareness though. Even if it is about heightening awareness of electrical usage. Missed the Google display--but they are usually great at commemorating various days!

Inal--thank you for sharing so many varied experiences! It is true that most of us don't have to deal with no electricity except as a power outage inconvenience. I find that thinking about earth hour makes me perceive electricity differently even though I have been through power outages, including long ones.
Thanks again for your enriching comment.

Chiara said...

Jay--hmmmm as cheery and optimistic as ever. I see you are more generous than you pretend though.

Countrygirl-thanks for sharing your perspective. I am not sure about the switching costing more than the using, but I do think the value is symbolic and conservation is important whether everything is true about global climate change or not. Thanks again!

Susanne--it's okay, I started and ended 10 minutes late! LOL:)

Anthrogeek--LOL:) you must have been studying too hard or paying attention to other things besides the news since it was online too! I like your distinction between contributing and just fake symbolism but for me Earth Hour is an opportunity to reflect on how people can be in the same spirit globally. It is amazing how fast the idea spread. Thanks for your viewpoint!


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