Earth Hour, March 26, 2011; 8:30pm

Small Steps Mean Big Change

While doing my graduate studies, I interned for the Mayor’s office in my city for the Sustainability Office. My city decided to participate in Earth Hour, a call for unity to address global climate change by turning off the lights for one hour. One of my jobs was to arrange that event which included setting up my first website. This partly explains how I figured out how to set up 538 Refugees.

I confess, I think the whole concept of Earth Hour is kind of silly. It reminds me of my undergraduate days when I participated in ‘Hands Across America‘ where a whole bunch of people tried to form a human chain across the nation. My friends and I were on the bridge across the Mississippi River in Memphis. I can’t even remember what that celebration was for but it was the eighties. The whole “We Are the World” African famine thing was all the rage. There was a big rock star protest against apartheid. Farm-Aid for midwest farmers. “Feed the World“, etc.

But Earth Hour has grown.

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.

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.

Yeah, it’s silly and symbolic. but it’s kind of fun to participate in a global blackout. The whole idea is that many small efforts combined result in a big shift. So if you want to participate in Earth Hour, kill your lights for one hour on Saturday March 26 at 8:30pm. And in a small way, show your support for taking steps towards mitigating global climate change.

About Mr. Universe

Mr. Universe is a musician/songwriter and an ex-patriot of the south. He currently lives and teaches at a University in the Pacific Northwest. He is a long distance hiker who has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. He is also an author and woodworker. An outspoken political voice, he takes a decidedly liberal stance in politics.
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13 Responses to Earth Hour, March 26, 2011; 8:30pm

  1. Mule Rider says:

    Knowing this, I fully plan on turning on every light in my house at the appointed time and then relaxing on the toilet for a very long and satisfying defecation in honor of what I think of “Earth Hour.”

  2. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    The whole problem with “Earth” day, “Earth” Hour, or Save the “Earth” is the total misnomer. To be more accurate, these titles should refer to “People” sustainability, or Save the “Humans”. That, after all, is the REAL goal and purpose.

    It’s NOT the Earth being saved.

    As the dinosaurs found out, the Earth will go on for millions of years after humans become extinct. Either through natural methods or self-induced ones.

  3. filistro says:

    @Max.. As the dinosaurs found out, the Earth will go on for millions of years after humans become extinct.

    Speaking of dinosaurs, an oilfield worker not too far from where I live has just discovered what is perhaps the oldest dinosaur fossil ever discovered.

    110 million years. Kinda puts everything in perspective, doesn’t it? Max is right… it shouldn’t be “Save the Earth” Day. It should really be SOSS Day (Save Our Sorry Skins.)

  4. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    How do you have time to post? Y’all got an election coming up! Exploratory committees to form, media consultants and political consultants and pollsters and advertising gurus to hire.

    Polls to sample the waters, debate after debate to listen to, and who knows what extraneous factors will rear their heads in the interim?

    I just don’t see how y’all gonna get ALL that DONE by May!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. filistro says:

    @Max… How do you have time to post? Y’all got an election coming up

    Nah, nothing to it. On election day, everybody in my province will schlepp down to the polls and vote conservative , including me… I’ve never once, ever voted for a liberal in a Canadian election.

    We will record our vote with a 2H pencil on a paper ballot. All the ballots will be counted within 2 hours of poll closing and the results will be announced nationally by 11 pm (11:30 in Newfoundland :-)) The conservatives will win and seat another minority govt. which will fall in due course, and within a year or so we will do it all over again.

    Seems weird, I know, but it works pretty well up here.

  6. Number Seven says:

    I miss the old daze also, where you could fill out your ballot with a pencil and all would be counted by evenings end.

    Honestly, why does it take so long to count votes in the US nowadays?

  7. filistro says:

    @#7… Honestly, why does it take so long to count votes in the US nowadays?

    You think it’s EASY for all those Diebold techs to change millions of D’s to R’s? 😉

  8. Chris Rich says:

    Here folks, this will give you lots of stuff to romp around exploring.

    I’ve neglected it but the links live on. You’ll find source material of every sort on both the sustainability side and the tech side. I for one like hydro kinetics and biomethane as a fuel made from municipal sewerage.

    When so many are full of it, why not make stuff to run the city buses?

    I was a bystander at a solar install in North Seattle in 2006. I wonder if the cost hopes panned out?

  9. dcpetterson says:

    Max, Filistro, you’re absolutely right about the Earth getting along just fine without us. We can kill ourselves off (and seem intent on doing so), along with an enormous percentage of the world’s current species of plant and animal life. But the Earth will survive, and life probably will, too.

    Having said that, we should ask if it’s a good idea — at least, from our perspective. We are are already creating a mass extinction to rival what happened at the end of the Cretaceous. What we are doing is not sustainable, in terms of keeping our current society (or even our species) afloat. There’s no doubt that other species will evolve once we’re gone. But I really don’t want to hurry our demise.

    I particularly don’t want to hurry it to the point where my grandsons — or perhaps their grandchildren — will see the day when it collapses. I rather like my grandsons. For the time being, they like me. I hope there won’t come a day when they blame our generation for the death of humanity — or even, looking at a slightly less drastic (but hardly less bleak) future, the death “merely” of human civilization.

  10. Pingback: Earth Hour 2011 « TouchstoneZ

  11. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    fili, I find it hard to believe you never voted for Maggie’s ex!

  12. filistro says:

    Max… I am wholly immune to male charisma (unless, of course, it’s wearing a Texas Ranger outfit ;-))

    Actually Trudeau was pretty irresistible in his day, but it’s different in Canada because we don’t actually vote for a PM… we vote for a local rep called an MP (Member of Parliament) and the leader of the party with the most elected MP’s becomes the PM.

    And because I live in one of the most fiscally conservative areas in North America, our Liberal candidates are just cannon fodder and are always total soppy weenies. You would have to tie porkchops to their ears to get the dog to play with them.

    Besides, all of Canada is like one big Democratic Party… except the Liberals are Bernie Sanders and Cynthia McKinney, and the Conservatives are the DLC.

  13. filistro says:

    Canada takes Earth Day very seriously.

    It’s just turned 8:30 and I’m sitting at my desk in a darkened room, looking out the window. I’m on the top floor of my condo building with a sweeping view of the city and the river valley. One by one the lights have flickered out all over the city… there’s nothing left but deep, deep blackness and a few rows of dull amber street lights in “stand-by” mode.

    Every year when I see this it makes me a bit tearful. It’s so beautiful, somehow.

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