Lights out: biggest show of climate concern ever?

March 20, 2009

 ”It promises to be largest demonstration of public concern about climate change ever attempted”, according to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

He’s not talking about something like an international series of protest marches, a coordinated shift to buying greener goods, nor a boycott of cars in favour of public transport.

What he wants is simply for you (and at least a billion other people) to turn out the lights for an “Earth Hour” on Saturday, March 28, from 8.30 p.m. local time.

This 60 minutes of darkness has really caught the public imagination — a year ago in the same event an estimated 50 million people worldwide joined in turning off lights after the idea started in Sydney in 2007 when 2.2 million homes and businesses took part. Now the target is for at least a billion people ( … and the organisers including WWF conservation group have even got Ban to make a video message about it). 

“I urge citizens everywhere to join us,” Ban says. “We are on a dangerous path, the planet is warming and we must change our ways.”

U.N. headquarters in New York will turn off the lights, along with landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The combination photo top right, by Tim Wimborne, shows Sydney Harbour Bridge before and after the switches were thrown last year.


 ”Earth Hour is a way for the citizens of the world to send a clear message. They want action on climate change,” Ban said.

Organisers suggest 10 ways to spend Earth Hour, such as a candlelight dinner (don’t be surprised if shares in candle-making companies rally this coming week), a night picnic in a park (if you live in a city you might even see the stars) or a romantic night with your loved one (if you work in a hospital maternity ward I reckon you may have to work overtime around Christmas and New Year 2010 to deliver a rush of babies).

So why has the lights off idea taken off so well? And has it made people more aware of saving energy at other times of the year? Any suggestions about what to do?


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Everyone puts so much stock in these “Climate Computer Models” that they don’t question their accuracy. Just imagine for a moment a computer model powerful enough to predict climate trends with all “variables” accounted for. Imagine that if a model this powerful existed, would it be safe to assume that this model could solve other mathematical problems with far fewer variables and more factual data. Technically, you should be able to calculate the Stock Market with 99% accuracy. Correct?
Is there Climate Change? Yes. But that is what happens on the tail end of an Ice Age. Let us worry about more important things than these Eco-chondriacs.

Posted by Harris | Report as abusive

HELP! HELP! The sky is falling! The sky is falling! please excuse me while I puke from all this malarky being jammed down my throat!

Posted by guy | Report as abusive

Well maybe when they see the lights go out one will come on!

Posted by bd | Report as abusive

I hope that one billion people spending an extra hour in the dark together will not result in any more babies, because that is the last thing we need.

Posted by Dennis C | Report as abusive

All Global Warming activists should just turn off their lights, and leave them off (forever), what better way for them to demonstrate how serious they are {… and if they actually make a difference, all the better}.

Posted by Joe | Report as abusive

TURN YOUR LIGHTS OFF when you leave the room. Besides that, welcome to the new wave of created income for the future. Why not? Maybe those jobs can’t be shipped to China. Mass mind control is soo cool. I enjoy the show.

I think that the Idea is absurd. Turning off all lights would leave you with 3 choices.
1. a hand cranked flashlight
2. a normal flashlight
3. a candle (a candle would only put co2 in the air anyway)

Posted by David | Report as abusive

I love reading the comments from the folks who say that these kinds of demonstrations are socialism or gov’t mind control. What a bunch of rubes! The only people who would think that are the ones who fear change and can’t imagine a world different than the one they’re currently stuck in now. Wake up you schmucks! You’re standing in the way of progress and keeping us in the stone age.

Posted by Scott | Report as abusive

Sounds fun. It is impotence in action, but sounds fun anyway. Since we don’t effect climate change, we are just whistling in the dark here. In addition, to help with the economy, we ought to hold flashlights to our faces and tell scary stories. Either is just as effective. How about to fix poverty we wear the same clothes 2 days in a row? I know, I know: We can throw virgins into a volcano to fix our current sun spot cycle problems.

Posted by A Different Dave | Report as abusive

What a hoax and so many of you are falling for it. Global temps have been going down since the late 1990s. The warming theory is based on computer models, not real data. In order for global warming to be real the temperatures of today would have to be the highest ever. Clearly the fossil record proves it has been much hotter in the past than now. Besides Al Gore is a moron. Dean Robinson BS,MA,DDS

Earth hour? Sounds kind of Orwellian.

What good is an hour anyway? It’s the habits you practice on a daily weekly monthly basis that determine whether you live in a clean place.

Posted by Jack Daniels | Report as abusive

Playing with fire. Today it’s all turning off our light switches hour. Tomorrow it’s “Vacuum your house hour” and “Exercise hour.”

If you want to clean up the environment you could give up your automobile. You could go outside and walk down the street picking up trash. Or better yet you could vote for better representative Government than what we’ve had and what we still have. No one wants to these things, but turning your light switch off for an hour, yeah we can do that.


Posted by Sebastian | Report as abusive

When Al Gore proclaimed in 1992 that human caused global warming was settled science, he neglected to provide proof of that. Since 1990, $50 billion in climate research grants has been spent and not one scientist has published a paper proving this theory. This theory seems to be belief based and while that includes thousands of scientists, there are thousands of other scientists who have examined the data and have not reached that conclusion. It seems likely that whatever has caused the earth to warm and cool for many thousands of years will likely continue to cause the earth to warm and cool.

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive

I am greatly amused and possibly depressed by the comment posted by Dean Robinson. I’m amused because for some reason he thinks that a DDS gives him the needed clout to call global warming a hoax (btw DDS is a Doctoral in Dental Surgery…not exactly a related field). But I’m depressed that, if it isn’t some middle school kid who thinks that sticking his fake degrees at the end of a comment is cool, an educated person can even say such a thing. If he wants to find a paper that discusses global warming all he has to do is check Google Scholar…it takes all of 2 seconds to find “proof”

Posted by Jason C | Report as abusive

I can’t believe half the people commenting on here believe they know better than the 1000 climate experts backed up by data that spans 100,000 years who say anthropogenic global warming is real and will have catastrophic consequences. Instead, they listen to the handful of “scientists” like Fred Singer who were the very same people that said tobacco doesn’t cause cancer and who hasn’t published a single paper in a peer reviewed scientific journal on the climate — ever.

To those people I ask: is cancer caused by tobacco another alarmist, liberal hoax, or are Fred Singer and others like him just opportunist?

Posted by Sad Scientist | Report as abusive

Of course no scientist has proved the “theory” of global warming: science doesn’t work that way.

A scientist poses a theory, and then creates experiments that can test if it is true. Often he or she will try to look for evidence that contradicts the theory, because this is the quickest way to check its correctness.

This is why the “theory” of evolution is still a theory despite all of the evidence gathered to support it; scientists always leave the option open that at some point evidence might arrive to contradict all their data. Creationists may or may not be correct in their beliefs, but since there is no concrete experiment that can test the veracity of a divine creation, it cannot be a “theory.”

So it is unremarkable that no one has “proved” the theories regarding climate change – what is significant is that after twenty years of tests no one has been able to disprove it.

Posted by D | Report as abusive

Biggest show of climate concern? Nope, biggest show of uninformed who believe humans are capable of causing global warming. Nature is taking care of itself and actually been cooling since the beginning of the century. Global warming caused by man is a huge hoax.

As for a ‘clean environment’ that is an entirely separate issue. I’m all for clean air and water and I pick up waste I see on walks. If enabling laws to clean the air are necessary then call it ‘clean air laws’ not ‘global warming.’ Two distinct issues.

Posted by larry Rova | Report as abusive

Who cares if the science is still unproven – will one hour kill you to turn off the lights and any other non-essential electrical stuff. Just think you may find a new way to save money on your electric bill by unpluging all those unused appliances. Who needs all those stupid clocks flashing 12:00 all the time anyway! Plus just maybe you might help the planet too!! What a concept!

Posted by Klinger Crazy | Report as abusive

Judging from the number of responses to this article and others, the Heritage Foundation must have a lot of excess money in its coffers this year to pay their people to make posts on the internet to support their talking points. These are the same shills that rotate through all of the progressive radio talk shows trying to keep the hosts tied up as they regurgitate all of their worn-out, disproven information. I have to admit that it is a fairly clever tactic to pay people to manufacture outrage.

Posted by Paul | Report as abusive

Why an hour? Because it represents a first step in reducing our addiction to electricity. People who are addicted do not make rational choices, even if it is in the nation’s best interest. Electricity is a major contributor to global warming, so we need to learn to reduce our energy consumption. An hour without electricity will hopefully help people reduce electrical usage, just like people need to conserve gas and water.


It’s a symbol. Nothing more, nothing less.

Posted by Why | Report as abusive

8:30 PM March 28th. No electricity for one hour. Cool!

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

Glad I read this, hope they announce it pretty heavily or folks might be thinking there’s an attack or natural disaster underway when 7/8ths of the lights go out (the 11th way to spend earth hour, in your basement, freaking out)

Buckminster Fuller called this rock “Spaceship Earth” and I guess that’s about right – I think energy wise, people won’t be coerced into change, only given accurate info, and if they’re hurtin enough, they’ll change something – I’d say that pressure point is the utility bill.

In todays economy, we need more light, not more darkness.

I’d reverse it, offer at-cost pricing on fluorescents and see if fluorescent (or other alternative lighting) sales go up – that’s a more valuable metric than awareness anyhow, actually would contribute to the economy and might make a difference. A measurable one, that is.

Posted by AJ | Report as abusive

The planet will be fine. It’s humanity that will suffer the effects of our greed and use of fossil fuels. If we are not careful it will be lights out for billions….forever.

Posted by Jeff | Report as abusive

A small step for man is a giant leap to mankind.This is proved true today.lets make this a habit, like, once a month to start with.

Posted by Farha | Report as abusive

It is the hour of global testing how many customers will be ready for the forthcoming CARBON TAX that the NWO globalists are preparing.CO2 levels are not raising the earth’s temperature, actually it raises food production. It is one of the many steps to dismantle the USA dominance and replace it by their own .USA is only serving them as a transitional vehicle towards this end. Sit back, relax and enjoy the movie as it unfolds. Starring WWF as the World Wide Fund collector for the NWO carbon tax and cap trade schemes already in motion…

Posted by Emmanuel | Report as abusive