On Friday I posted about why I’d be turning off the lights for Earth Hour. Cat and I celebrated Sydney’s Earth Hour on Saturday night at our place with some friends and candlelit drinks and nibbles. It was very pleasant.
It seems to have been quite a success. According to Energy Australia, electricity use in the CBD fell by 10%, saving emissions equivalent to taking 50,000 cars off the road for an hour. 60,000 households and businesses signed up officially and I’ve read one estimate of 2.2 million people taking part (which sounds unrealistically high to me, but it was pretty big). I didn’t see the city but some of the pictures I’ve seen are quite impressive. And it attracted attention around the world (eg, this CNN report).
The big outcome to my mind is to re-energise people about what they can do in their homes and businesses.
I had meant to go for a walk to check out the neighbourhood response, but I got too caught up in conversation. By the time we thought of checking whether earth hour was over, it was 9 pm. But it was pretty encouraging from our balcony. We’ve got a good view of three other apartment blocks. There were very few lights on in any of them, although a large part of that might have just been people out on a Saturday night. I could see at least half a dozen apartments though where people were home and which were lit only by candles and a couple of others with only the TV on.
Listed below are some other blog reports on people’s Earth Hour experiences (pretty much a random selection from Google BlogSearch of people who devoted more than a couple of sentences to their own experiences). There’s quite few!
I’m pretty encouraged by the whole thing. I think the climate change debate is often dominated by extreme positions: acopalypse versus myth. The public policy debate is important but it would be nice if the shrill voices on both sides could be sidelined by a sensible majority taking the steps that they can take personally and easily to start to deal with this issue. Yes, difficult decisions will need to be made but there’s a whole lot of easy ones that can be made right now: by businesses and individuals and not by governments. Lots of people on Saturday night showed they’re keen.
Other Earth Hour experiences: