Earth Hour should be a big deal. in 152 countries on seven continents, "Hundreds of millions of people around the world turn off their lights for one hour on the same night, to focus on the one thing that unites us all—our planet." Started in Sydney in 2007, it spread around the world. We attended candlelight dinner parties, kids got involved, it was great fun everywhere. There were fabulous concerts with Nelly Furtado singing Turn out the light..
I confess that I didn't join 10,000 people to celebrate in 2008, I had a candlelight dinner with my wife and new puppy.
But not in the USA. They were too good for Earth Hour. A squatter grabbed the website. Trolls would write about how futile it is, burning candles and creating more pollution. Conservative columnists complained that environmentalists wanted to put us back to the dark ages before electricity.
Commenters would complain that "Earth Hour DOES NOT save any energy at all because no power plant can reduce production in an hour." (not true; there are data to prove it)
Two years ago I was writing Will the Last Person Celebrating Earth Hour Please Turn Out The Lights?. I called it Earth Hour ennui. Trolls still wrote "Earth Hour is a lame idea that accomplishes nothing except making a few people feel better about themselves for one day before they go back to their regular lifestyles."
Last year I pretty much considered it dead, and the candle felt more like a Jewish Yahrtzeit.
It is a shame really, it was a good idea, and it did raise awareness. At 8:30PM on Saturday I will turn out some lights and light a candle. May its memory be for a blessing.
I'm tired of the damn trolls.
This year it's different. I am celebrating Earth Hour this year not because it saves a whole lot of energy; I will admit that one hour doesn't make a whole lot of difference and that driving to an Earth Hour event across town might be counterproductive.
I am celebrating Earth Hour to stand up against negativity. To stand with millions around the world in a visible demonstration that we actually care about the planet, about climate change, about the future. Consider it a symbol of solidarity against those who mock environmentalism. In particular, Americans have ignored Earth Hour; that might be because the climate skeptics were so quick off the mark to shut it down. Recent research has shown that nasty comments can polarize discussion and lead people to misunderstand the original intent of articles; Earth Hour never had a chance in the polarized American environment.
I am celebrating Earth Hour because I am sick of trolls and of deniers and I want people to know where I stand. I hope you will do the same; turn out your lights and light a candle at 8:30 local time. Learn more about Earth Hour in the USA here.
I can also recommend a nice candlelit dinner with your love, your kids or your puppy. That's what I am doing and will have photos up on Monday. Instagram photos with @treehuggerdotcom or add them to our Flickr pool.