Saturday, 29 March 2008 10:27

It's Our Earth, Well for One Hour Anyway

In a few hours time, Australia will celebrate Earth Hour.  Another triumph of style over meaning.

Earth Hour is a world-wide promotion to have us use less electricity for 1/8,760th of a year.  Big deal!  Aside from making a few people feel good about themselves and causing the electricity generating industry some interesting capacity balancing issues, I completely fail to see the point of this event. 

All day today, the promotions on the TV have been telling us to turn off all lights and non-essential appliances for an hour.  In the next breath they tell us what will be screening at that time.  I assume this means that the TV is an essential appliance.  Perhaps I’ll be a good lad and contribute to Earth Hour by turning off my recording device, so I don’t break any laws!

If you visit the Earth Hour website, you’ll find that 271,334 people and 19,493 businesses (including quite a few IT organisations if you look through the list) have ‘registered’ whatever that might mean.  After all, how many of these businesses will actually be trading at 8pm on a Saturday?  Considering they don’t seem to have to pay for registering, I can only assume this is nothing more than shameless self-aggrandisement by these groups.

The more I watch the idealistic fervour, the more I’m reminded of the Global Concert for the Environment, which occurred just a few short months ago.  Do you vaguely remember that?  The sequence of concerts around the world that were supposed to focus the world on the environment.  All it achieved was to allow a bunch of GenX-ers a chance to convince themselves they really cared.  Briefly, anyway.

Earth Hour is no different.  And to add insult to injury, they’ve engaged a sweatshop somewhere to produce t-shirts – for a mere $29.95 you too can commemorate the event!  One can only hope that WWF (the promoters of the entire event) have purchased sufficient carbon credits to offset the emissions created by their production.

I’m pretty-sure the energy expended in promoting the event will far out-weigh the savings achieved; particularly if you measure energy in units of verbal hot-air.  But if you want to know the real effect of Earth Hour, just hang out at the maternity unit of your nearest hospital next Christmas, it’s the same with every power failure!

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David Heath

David Heath has had a long and varied career in the IT industry having worked as a Pre-sales Network Engineer (remember Novell NetWare?), General Manager of IT&T for the TV Shopping Network, as a Technical manager in the Biometrics industry, and as a Technical Trainer and Instructional Designer in the industrial control sector. In all aspects, security has been a driving focus. Throughout his career, David has sought to inform and educate people and has done that through his writings and in more formal educational environments.

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