A Perspective on Earth Hour
Saturday, March 27 2010 @ 08:40 PM EDT
Contributed by: richardpitt
An hour is what you make of it - you can't get it back and you can't lend it to someone who has used theirs up; it's yours and yours alone.
This day we, especially those of us in the so-called developed world, should be all taking at least this coming 8:30PM to 9:30PM (local time - Earth Hour) hour to think about what our use of power to light our lives after dark and away from windows means.
To me it has meant I could read far into the night; first newspapers, then books such as encyclopedias and science fiction (not much difference between them in those days if I recall correctly). It meant I got far more education than I would have if I had only had daylight to read by.
To me it has meant that living North of the 49th parallel in Winter does not mean 7 hour days.
To me it has meant having the time to appreciate life in the daylight because I could do work when it was dark.
But nothing I've said here means that I don't support the concept of turning out the lights for an hour as a reminder of what it is that we have accomplished and can accomplish with reasonable use of plentiful power. Here in British Columbia we are blessed with huge amounts of "clean" power - hydro-electricity from dams across some of the rivers of our province. These dams were built at the cost of some of our wilderness being flooded and some of our wildlife being pushed from their areas, but this is small sacrifice compared to the devastation that has been wrought by the prolonged use of fossil fuels in other areas of the world to accomplish the same thing - light up the night.
Global warming, whether you believe it is caused by man's impact on the biosphere or not, is going to change our world in ways we are only just starting to understand. It is happening. It may have happened anyway, even if we did not create such a massive dependence on fossil fuels. Dealing with it will cost humanity dearly. It will change ocean currents which will change weather patterns. The changed weather patterns will change deserts to swamps and swamps to deserts. The changes in weather patterns will cause ice to melt which will cause ocean levels to rise, inundating coastal areas where huge numbers of people live. The cost to humanity of just dealing with the rise in ocean level will be huge.
Turning off the lights for an hour won't fix this - but if enough of us turn the lights off at the same time, our various governments just might get the idea that their constituents - you and me - want changes made NOW!
There are alternatives to fossil fuels for the creation of power. There are alternatives for fossil fuels for moving vehicles around. These alternatives will hurt our life style to implement; they are more expensive than what is happening now if you don't take into consideration the future cost to us of dealing with the problems caused by global warming. I say "take into account the future costs!"
Join those of us who think that the cost of global warming is too much, and who want to slow and stop it now before it is too late - turn off your lights tonight and spend this hour to send a message. I think it's worth it. How about you?