Wednesday, March 25, 2009

ZOMG, Earth Hour!!

Yesterday I logged into Twitter (to manage my account, not to tweet; sorry followers!!) and was promptly assaulted with Earth Hour related tweets on the main page.

And I had been doing such a good job of forgetting all about Earth Hour.

Yes, that's right, Virginia, I am not in any way, shape or form celebrating Earth Hour.


Well, because, I think, personally, that Earth Hour might be, the stupidest hour ever invented.

Let's think.


No, I still think Earth Hour still beats them all.

Earth Hour, for those of you that don't know, is an hour, which for whatever inexplicable reason generally falls on a Saturday night, wherein everyone is supposed to turn off their lights ... in support of the Earth or something.

We're all supposed to just sit there, in the dark, right? So, you know, most people then use a couple candles to light their homes, so they can, like, see, and stuff.

Except, that apparently paraffin candles (the kind most people light) are almost 10 times as bad as light bulbs. (Read this post for the math, and for a kinder, less rantier rant than the one I'm about to embark upon.)

Basically, by asking people to turn off their lights, we're promoting an inefficient means of lighting over a highly efficient one. It's like having a National No Smoking Day and getting people to take up chewing tobacco instead.

Now some will claim that it's not about the actual emissions that are lost or gained during Earth Hour. It's the symbolism!

Okay ... but what kind of message does it send that environmentalists, who are basing climate change predictions on rigorous science, don't even care about the science behind our freaking symbolism?

And we wonder why people claim that global warming isn't happening because it's snowing. We're out here getting people to symbolically burn damn candles when the science tells us that light-bulbs are the emissions-friendly option!!

Oh, but CFL, you are not sufficiently Walden-esque, I'm sorry.

This is the thing. Earth Day is bad symbolism. It's bad symbolism because it's unscientific and unthinking. It's bad symbolism because it ignores the real issues. It's bad symbolism because it doesn't represent any form of meaningful, long term change. I mean, my God, it's an HOUR. ONE HOUR. Like Earth Hour is some sort of hot movie star, and you are lucky to get an hour with him dammit, don't expect him to sleep over and cuddle you the next morning.

Look. I know some of you are going to tell me, "Anything is better than nothing! Maybe if we spend an hour sitting in the half-dark and bumping into furniture some people will get how important this is!"


You are TOO GOOD for Earth Hour. Do you hear me?

You deserve more from the world than a stupid, meaningless, didn't pass 10th grade science Earth Hour.

You are busy flying around in capes, peeing on your lawn, tallying up your plastic every damn week, and the world rewards all your hard work with one damn inconsequential hour and expects you to get all excited?

I am not buying it.

So, I will be spending my 8pm Saturday at a pub with friends. When Earth Hour wants to talk seriously about ACTUAL emissions reductions (as opposed to symbolic reductions), I'll come talk, but until then, go away, Earth Hour.


JessTrev said...

Soy candles?! Seriously, the little people like Earth Hour. My 5 year old was really into it last year. ;)

ruchi said...

No, dude, I have nothing against people enjoying an hour by soy or bee wax candlelight. Spending an hour by candle can be a really nice, relaxing, sometimes romantic experience.

But why would you need an "official" hour once a year to do that?

Farmer's Daughter said...

LOVE IT! So here I was thinking that I'm all anti-eco because I'm not planning to participate. We're having friends over and they're not totally aware of my eco-nuttiness. Well now I can be even more of an eco-nut by not participating.

Many of my students, however, are planning to participate. I think I'll "enlighten" them on the science tomorrow.

Many of them are also participating in a 30-hour famine to raise money and awareness for world hunger, too. I think I'll encourage participation in that one (but of couse I couldn't DO IT!!! I LOVE FOOD! READ MY BLOG!!!)

Crunchy Chicken said...

Yes, last week I suggested an alternative called "Earth Shower! Tinkling for the good of the planet", wherein I run around the yard naked and pee on my plants for the hour.

It makes about the same amount of sense to me.

ruchi said...

Dude, Crunch, how much organic vodka are you going to have to drink in order to pee for one full hour?!

Just make sure that Earth Shower doesn't turn into Earth Vomit All Over Yourself. I'm pretty sure that stuff isn't that good for your plants.

Dude, Abbie, 30 hour food fast? Your kids are hard core!!

ruchi said...

Also, could I say "dude" more often today? I think not. This is what happens when you are up at 2:18 am responding to blog comments instead of asleep.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Dude, go to bed!

And the answer to your question is: a whole lot of organic tea...

ruchi said...

I think you're going to need a few more tea trees....

Stephanie said...

Funny, I always thought it was about turning down the lights at night so the birds can see in the dark to navigate. Save the birds!!!

Obviously I'm a bigger fan of wildlife than odd science. But I'm thinking of designating one day a week where I don't turn on my computer and unplug it the entire day. That'll do a whole lot more for my energy consumption than one hour a year of no lights. Last year I "participated" but still used my computer the whole time. What a waste.

knutty knitter said...

If it includes street lights etc I'm for it. Its an astronomers dream come true. Otherwise. no I won't bother any more than usual.

viv in nz

Anonymous said...

I'm gonna do it just because I think it will be cool to see the city dark for once. Maybe I'll just walk around outside in the dark. I have beeswax candles, but what would be the point? I really just want to enjoy the dark, which I can't do any other time of year because everyone else has their damn lights on.

When did you turn into such a freakin' scroooooooooooooge?

Anonymous said...

Oh, and by the way, Arduous tweeted.

ruchi said...

I did. But it was a response to your tweet tweet. Not an on my own voluntary tweet.

People keep adding me on twitter AFTER I posted that I wasn't going to tweet!!! Are you putting them up to it, Beth? ;)

Stephanie said...

I'd be put up to following you, Ruchi, but I haven't been convinced to join Twitter yet. :) Still working on the "You can't beat me!" angle.

Anonymous said...

I'd never even heard of Earth Hour. Where does it come from?

Maybe we should have a Solar Hour instead and encourage everyone to cook with a solar oven.

Farmer's Daughter said...

Will- based on my experience that would be more like a Solar Day to actually cook something :)

Ruchi- I'll just tell you what I tell my students. I do not respond to "dude."

Anonymous said...

Maggie has just reminded me that not only have I heard about Earth Hour, she wrote wrote an article about it. Obviously, it didn't make much of an impact.

It doesn't make much sense on a personal level, but it is kind of cool on a commercial level. It always bugs me to see lights blazing in a closed store.

And yeah, Farmer's Daughter, an hour is probably a little optimistic. :)

EcoBurban said...

I have a total excuse, I will be attending a bat mitzvah saturday night... There will be candles lit, but also a DJ, tons of teenage girls spinning about and lots of food. No Earth Hour. I'm sure the babysitter at home won't want to run around in the dark with 4 kids and 2 dogs. We will keep the CFLs burning brightly for her! :)

ruchi said...

@ Will, yeah, I agree with you on a commercial level, but again I'm kind of like ... why one hour once a year? Why not like ... every day? When is it ever necessary to have a commercial building lit up at 11pm?

Mad Hatter said...

"It's like having a National No Smoking Day and getting people to take up chewing tobacco instead."

Hehe...that totally cracked me up! :-)

Going Crunchy said...

I do find it vastly ironic that people print up ads for it (like our Park District) on tons of paper and pass them out everywhere.

And then places like us, the Library can't close anyway because we are a municipal space and the cities around here are just not so crunchy at this point.

Megan said...

Ruchi, I SOO agree. I spent Saturday night at a gig. Earth Hour isn't enough, and I think it borders on irresponsible to make the general public feel like this is the kind of action they need to take. No lights for an hour. Like giving a pound to Comic Relief and saying you give to charity.

Maybe if you had some power down earth hour concerts and made sure that everyone there looked at their carbon footprint, got some tips on how to drop a couple tonnes of emissions.... but a token gesture with no follow-up? No thanks.

Melinda said...

LOL, are you judging me because I participated in Earth Hour? ; ) Since they got you in such a tizzy about it, and you're -ahem- talking about it (which is the goal of any marketing campaign), then they have done something... I'm just sayin'...

I have an idea, though. If you don't like it, why not try to change it? Why not try to make it more meaningful?