Earth Hour

Like many others, I spent an hour contemplating candlelight on Saturday evening – observing Earth Hour: switching off the lights for an hour.

I like it – I listened to some lovely music; I looked at the faint crescent moon setting to the north; and I thought why people around the world were, like me, sitting in the semi-darkness.

There are some lovely pictures taken during Earth Hour – before and after images, showing the effect of switching off the lights on monumental buildings. It is impressive – you see so much when the lights are switched off.

(There are more pictures on flickr.)

But it got me thinking… What are all those lights doing on in the first place?

It actually made me angry: all these big, famous buildings – the Houses of Parliament, the Sydney Opera House, the attractions of Las Vegas – switching their lights off on this one, nominated, special evening.

Why? Why do they need to switch the lights off? What on Earth are the lights doing on in the first place?

Earth Hour was very special; it was lovely sitting in the candlelight. But it shouldn’t be special; it shouldn’t be something that just happens once a year: these buildings shouldn’t have all their lights on that they need to switch off: all the energy lighting the sky; all that power, wasted, the carbon poring into the atmosphere.

If we are serious about climate change – and I believe I am – this shouldn’t be a once a year thing. These lights shouldn’t be on that they can be switched off in the first place.

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