Some people are saying that Earth Hour is silly and doesn't save a watt; others say it has become too corporate. But in much of the world, corporations and individuals are taking it very seriously. In the UK, IKEA is turning off its signs, turning down its lighting and donating 10% of its revenue from CFL sales to the WWF. In Canada, IKEA is also turning down the lights, but also doing what some think is manifestly silly: Giving out 4,000 candles to all of its employees "so they can flick their lights off at home in safety."
Given that most candles are made from paraffin, a petroleum byproduct, and given how many house fires are caused by candles, that may be a counterproductive move. But their other moves this year have been more graceful, including reducing their energy use by a dramatic 25%. More from their press release
I notice that there is no mention at all about Earth Hour on the American IKEA website. This is a shame; they could have been a leader on this.
While it really is wonderful to see all these big companies participating, but you have to wonder about Enbridge, the big natural gas distributor. According to the Star, which is running a series on corporate responses to Earth Hour, at Enbridge:
All non-critical indoor and outdoor lights will be turned off, as will non-essential heating, air conditioning and computer equipment. A natural gas generator will be used to keep the company's data centre and other emergency systems running. Excess power from the generator will be fed back into the grid, and waste heat from the generator will be recovered to provide heat to the building. "The result is a totally self-sufficient building," said [spokesperson] Boukydis.
So in a city where 70% of the electricity comes from CO2-free hydro and nuclear, they are going to run on natural gas and call it a positive contribution.
But notwithstanding the occasional bits of silliness, Earth Hour is a lot of symbolic fun. So turn out the lights this Saturday, light a soy candle and have a good time.
More on Earth Hour
Earth Hour Comes To America
Let's Party Like it's 1799!
Knock Your Lights Out for Earth Hour
Toronto Hydro-Electric Earth Hour Contest: Guess The Power Drop