On March 31st 2007, several households and businesses in Australia , mainly in the city of Sydney turned off power in a unique first of its kind attempt, to symbolise proactive reduction of carbon emissions .Nearly 2.2 million individuals participated in this mega event. A lot of publicity thrown in by creaters of the first ever 'Earth - Hour' seemed to have emphasised their message clear. "We care about Global Warming."
The cynics started jeering though when reports were released claiming that Earth Hour helped reduce carbon emissions by 10.2%,as against the targetted 5%, and that the whole concept was a huge success. There seemed to be a small catch in the report and all the fanfare. Tim Blair, a popular Australian journalist and an avid blogger quips " Is there any greater example of green stupidity than Earth Hour. The whole stunt requires people to turn off efficiently made and distributed energy —electricity — and replace it with alternatives like candles and gas barbecues that have to be transported by oil-burning ships, trucks and cars to the point where they are to be set fire to in the open air without any means of capturing emissions.” . (Read his rather cynical post on his blog, posted this March 25th on the wake of Earth Day 2008 planned this saturday!- Hour of Power). Critics argue that any saving would have to be offset against additional carbon burnt during the publicity campaign for Earth Hour — for example, a gas-powered hot-air balloon flying over Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide in the weeks running up to Earth Hour, extolling the virtues of energy saving. University of Chicago economist David Solomon claims that the reports on last year's Earth day was exaggerated. He says “Statistically speaking, Earth Hour appears to have been a complete flop.”
Inspite of all the criticism, the organisers have managed to get on board, several individuals and business units in various parts of the world including those from cities like Bangkok, Chicago, Suva, Copenhagen, Manila, Tel Aviv, Christchurch and Toronto. The campaign is expected to take off at 8 PM on Saturday March 29th 2008, when units will turn off thier electricity for an hour! Organisers said more than 6,000 businesses are participants in Earth Hour. The Glass Brasserie at Sydney's swish Hilton Hotel is promoting an extravagant candle-lit dinner during Earth Hour this year.
The idea sounds truly good, but only symbolically. So if you really care and want to turn off your lights this saturday, make sure you do so without having those candles burning!!