YAH YAPS! Travel Blog - YAHGLOBAL.com

Earth Hour 2011 Difference or Dud?

March 27, 2011




Last night I stood out on a chilly balcony on the 22nd floor overlooking the downtown core of a major metropolitan city holding onto a tiny glimmer of anticipation as the seconds passed. I want to say that some rustic antique clocked echoed the last tick and bellowed a single deep bass like chime from 8:29 to 8:30 but instead I had to turn to look at the in-suite microwave to make sure the time had transitioned to the supposed “event” I was waiting for. Earth Hour 2011, 8:30pm and nothing happened. The sea of lights that make up this city center did not only neglect to dim but with near certainty I am pretty sure I witnessed more turn on in addition to the blaring screens of LCD TVs and Mac monitors in the foreground and its safe to assume that curling irons, hair dryers, and electric shavers were in full use as well. Someone should tell the fine folks at World Wildlife Foundation (WFF) that planning an international energy saving event during prime personal hygiene prepping hours of a Saturday night-out is not the wisest of strategies, as well intentioned as it is. What's wrong with Sunday evening while we are huddled up in our PJ's? I can't think of a better time to sit by candlelight.



Now before those that know me cry “hypocrite!” and balk at the idea of me, not the noblest of environmentalists, preaching or chastising anyone on this topic, by any means please know that I am not. I have been known to overlook the blue recycle bin in favor of convenience (even for only a few inches sometimes) when throwing out an empty milk jug or am frequently found leaving a dangling i-Pad charging cord plugged into the wall without it's mate for days on end. I'm working on it. In fact, I was going to write this blog live last night as the time changed until I realized the irony of it, tapping away on my netbook to complain about how no one bothered to stop electrical use for a mere hour. Your welcome (WWF), I did my part.



My concern however, is that the city I was in yesterday evening is touted, mostly by itself, as being environmentally conscious to the point of developing a guise of green superiority, probably born out of an inferiority complex. The statistics (% drop in megawatts of energy use) of Earth Hour 2011 for this metropolis barely registered. One other large populous hub worth noting in this context, Calgary, AB, a beautiful city which also lays claim to being among the greenest in it's nation was the most disappointing of all the counted cities in the world with a 3.6% INCREASE in energy consumption. Maybe they forgot to change their clocks to account for daylight saving a couple of weeks ago.



On a positive note, many of the world's major landmarks and tourist attractions went dark from the Acropolis in Athens to the Santa Monica Pier in L.A. County to Times Square in NYC. Sydney, Australia had yet another strong showing with approximately half of its population in participation while Japan, who gets a definite “hall pass” for exemption from this event in the wake of the recent earthquake/tsunami tragedy, showed a strong show of support and set an example for us all to follow. Earth Hour also sparked a surge of entertainment around the world. As mentioned, tourist attractions known for their bright display became a novelty in itself, a reverse fireworks display of sorts, when lights switched off and YouTube videos ran abound with the likes of the Paris Eiffel Tower and Buenos Aires Obelisk in Argentina fading (instantly) to black. In South Africa, the award winning Soweto Gospel Choir held a free candlelit concert while smaller but just as heartfelt activities took place in just about every city. The Acqua (not a spelling error) Four Seasons in Miami had patrons dine a set menu made of organic and sustainable ingredients by wax and burning wick. Earth Hour has become a full on global event and as each city ups it's annual “green” festivities they will become tourist attractions worth traveling to for those reasons alone.



Again, this article does not intend to point fingers at cities that fell short and herald those that went the extra mile. Ultimately, there is little actual global impact felt on one hours worth of energy savings. However, as Earth Hour co-founder and executive director Andy Ridley stated to the AFP in Sydney Australia where it all started in 2007, “The amount of power that is saved during that time is not what its really about”. What it's about, is making people more conscious and creating a world wide buzz about keeping our electrical habits in check while having a little fun in the process. So keep abreast of next year's Earth Hour 2012 (and possibly stave off the impending end of the world in the same year) events across the world and use it as an excuse to visit a new city that holds a festivity applicable to your tastes. For now, how about joining me for an organic candlelit dinner this Sunday evening? Figuratively that is.



Wish You Were Here, Editor – YAHglobal.Com

post by : Editor - YAH Yaps