At the risk of causing outrage: I don’t see the point of Earth Hour. In fact, more than that, I think it’s quite possibly counter-productive.
For one hour every year a bunch of landmarks turn off their lights, and folk sit at home and use candlelight instead of electric light. Oh but it’s only ‘non-essential lighting’ that you turn off, so it’s kind of up to you which lights stay on and which you turn off. And then one year there was a Scotland football match during earth hour, so I checked the terms and conditions of participating, because I was naively thinking it was ‘non-essential electricity’ (which I figured meant you could keep your fridge on). Turns out it’s only lights, sorry, non-essential lights, so you can go ahead and watch your HD TV and play the X Box, or listen to music, or tweet your earth hour experiences, and check what other folk are doing on your computer.
Ah, but it’s symbolic I hear you cry, it makes people think twice about energy consumption. Really? Is there any conclusive proof that participating in earth hour makes people use less energy? Or do anything beneficial for the environment? And as for the people behind those darkened landmarks – do they change their business practices? Engage in energy efficiency measures? Or are they more interested in the positive press coverage?
What do I think you could do with your hour? Change your electricity supplier to Good Energy, move your bank account to the Co-op or Triodos, check that your pension isn’t investing in climate wrecking environmentally damaging human rights abusing activities, shop locally, recycle, use public transport, donate a wee bit of cash to charity…
And you know what, you can light candles and sit in the dark for an hour if you like, and you can marvel at the footage of landmarks turning dark across the world, just don’t think it actually makes a difference. And don’t excuse yourself from any or all of the above activities just because you turned the lights off for an hour.