Monday, March 17, 2008

Earth Hour

What is an hour? - A division of time, an hour is 1/24th of a day. It's something that has been created by humans - a representation of reality that has become useful to the way we live, although it has no reality outside of human consciousness.

Imagine 8:00 in the evening of March 29 in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on the international dateline. As this hour begins it's progress around our globe it first touches the Fiji Islands, where at 8:00 PM the people of Suva, Fiji's capital turn off their lights and turn down their electricity for one hour. Then it reaches New Zealand where the people of Christchurch follow suit. When this hour touches down in Australia it will have been a year since the city of Sydney first celebrated Earth Hour.

One year ago 2 million people in Sydney celebrated Earth Hour, when they turned their lights off for one hour. In just one hour they managed to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 25 thousand tons from what it would have been otherwise. Why did they do this? Maybe it was because Australia is one of the places in the world most affected by global warming, due to the increasingly severe drought occurring there.

It has been known for more than a hundred years that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and that increasing amounts of it in the atmosphere would lead to an increased mean global temperature. For the last two hundred years our society has been producing more and more carbon dioxide as a result of our exponential increase in fossil fuel consumption. But it's only in the last twenty years that scientists have begun to see evidence of an accelerated rise in the Earth's mean temperature.

Global warming has become history's greatest threat to humankind. But we have brought this on by our ever increasing consumption of fossil fuels. At first the thought that we are all responsible for accelerated climate change is difficult to swallow. Indeed, many of us have not been able to accept the truth of this and so have wasted themselves in pettiness and denial.

Others may recognize the problem of climate change, but feel powerless to do anything about it. But the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. If we can make a dent in global greenhouse emissions in one hour then we can know in our hearts that each and everyone's efforts count for something.

Now Earth Hour reaches other Australian cities: Melbourne, and Perth. And they turn off their lights and turn down their electricity. Earth hour comes to Manila in the Philippines, then to Tel Aviv, Israel, then to Copenhagen, Denmark. It crosses the Atlantic Ocean and reaches the Canadian City of Toronto. The lights of Canada's greatest city darken for one hour.

Finally Earth Hour reaches Prince Rupert. We become part of a massive human wave beginning in Fiji and lasting 24 hours. Everyone who participates becomes a part of something bigger. Everyone of us can make a difference in how much energy the world consumes in just one hour.

Everyday 8:00 PM comes and goes – but the hours change, the days change, and the seasons change. The same hour goes around the Earth again and again but the events of this hour and this day will resonate long afterwards.

Become part of this human wave to stop runaway global warming on Earth Hour and turn off your lights and reduce your electricity for one hour from 8:00 to 9:00 PM on March 29.

Please come downtown and join in the official festivities as parts of Third ave. will be blocked off for unplugged music and fun times from 7:30 - 9:30 PM.

It's about responsibility isn't it? What we create interacts with the Earth we live on. If our creations are mucking things up then eventually we need to do something about it 24/7. But in the mean time, let's start with Earth Hour.

No comments:

Post a Comment