Lights out

Between 8:30 and 9:30pm anyway, for Earth Hour:

About one billion people in 121 countries were expected to take part in Earth Hour, a time set aside on Saturday to turn off unnecessary lights for one hour to raise awareness about energy conservation.

People in New Zealand, Australia, Beijing and Shanghai have already had their hour of reduced electricity use between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. local time.

The goal is to draw attention to the need to save power as part of the worldwide battle against climate change.

Some consider Earth Hour to be a pointless exercise, but it does the trick of raising awareness of climate change, which, no matter how much you kick and scream and hold your breath til you turn blue, remains a very real problem.

And hey — depending who you’re with, turning out the lights can be excellent fun.  So why not?  It’s a win-win.

UPDATE: I don’t get this — for those who don’t participate in Earth Hour, that’s cool, but I’m not sure how it’s a big deal to spend it doing exactly the same thing as you do on any Saturday.  Driving around, burning leaves — meh.  Burn your house down, now that’s a protest!

23 Responses to “Lights out”


  1. 1 Brian Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 10:55 am

    …the need to save power as part of the worldwide battle against climate change

        There is no way for us to “battle” climate change (I mean, one volcanic belch out-scales any effort you might make by thousands of times; one forest fire overwhelms the effect of this gesture).  But even supposing that there were a way for us to battle climate change, given the huge scale of the forces involved, turning off not just “unnecessary lights,” but all lights and all heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, even for a full month would be insufficient to even detect with the most sophisticated of technologies currently available.

        To wit, CO2 release by humans was reduced globally by 30% for several years during the Great Depression, due to reduced industrial activity, less driving, more multi-family living situations, and so on; measurements of atmospheric CO2 corroborate this.  Yet, with a 30% reduction in CO2 production, there is no change in the graphs of global temperatures.  I mean, there is not the slightest modification of the trend line.

        This just seems like classic tilting at windmills to me.

  2. 2 Cornelius T.Zen Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Good morrow, all!
    From all that I have seen, and heard, and read, one thing stands out in my mind: Humanity was put here to be the steward of life on earth. Homo sapiens is the only species that knowingly and willingly fouls its own nest. We know better, and we refuse to do better. This is smart, how?
    Brian, you may not believe in the influence of mankind on climate change, but six billion of us do make a difference that is measureable and has been measured.
    Good night, and may your God go with you. – CTZen

  3. 3 Brian Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Homo sapien is the only species that knowingly and willingly fouls its own nest

    We don’t “foul our own nest,” though plenty of species so that.  Just think of the area where birds hang out, and fish swim in their own excrement, just as a couple examples.

     

    Brian, you may not believe in the influence of mankind on climate change, but six billion of us do make a difference that is [measurable] and has been measured.

     

    It is true that changes in global temperature have been measured (with an uncertain level of accuracy).  It is also true that at least 6 billion of us are here.  But correlation does not establish causation.

    1) For many, many centuries, the human population has been increasing.  During that time, global temperatures have gone both up and down.

    2) The measurement results appear to show that, despite the continuing increase in human population (which has slowed greatly), and the continued increase in atmospheric CO2, the temperature rise has stopped, and possibly turned around for the last 15 years.

    3) 6 billion is not really that many — in fact, let’s go with 9 billion for this little thought experiment.
    Consider: the area of Texas is 696,241 km^2, or 696,241,000,000 m^2.
    If we took the entire population of the world, and grouped it into groupings of 4 (mom, dad, 2 kids), that would make for 2.25 bil. groups.
    Evenly distributed, this would make for 309 m^3/group, or a square 17 meters on a side.  If half of that were used for the yard, driveway, etc., that leaves room for a domicile of about 150 square meters.  That’s with the entire world’s population in Texas.

    Granted, that leaves no room for roads or sidewalks.  But it helps to put man’s presence into perspective.

    I’m not saying we do nothing, because we are by any measure an industrious species!  I just don’t see trustworthy evidence that we are destroying the place.

  4. 4 Bleatmop Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    JJ – Per your update, I was going to provide a summary of my exploits as a BT to give you some insight. But it appears Brian has already summarized their talking points for me. But I’ll try anyway.

    It basically boils down to being a AGW denialist. If you don’t want to believe in this stuff, and you don’t want the Green movement to gain any political cout, then you’ll do anything you can to sabotage your perceived enemies. If enough people did this blackout hour, then our politicians would take notice. Thus this is why BT Iceman wrote:

    If there are people out there that are going to do this whole blackout routine, then the rest of us need to pull up the slack. We need to make up the difference, such that when the eggheads review the results from the power grid, there is no measurable impact.

    Also, as I’m writing this, my wife just read a review on an Earth Day app for her blackberry giving a religious reason to not take part. Basically, it’s all in god’s hands, so repent, get saved, and when we all die, you’ll go to heaven. Something or other about not worrying about “earthly” things too. Messed up stuff.

  5. 5 Simon Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    hi JJ…you’re right about this:

    And hey — depending who you’re with, turning out the lights can be excellent fun.

    And I LOVE that cartoon… 🙂

  6. 6 Brian Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    talking points

    Beatmop,

      What I wrote was communication, not pre-packaged, worked-out-for-me-in-advance-by-others “talking points.”  But even had this been such, that by itself does not speak to the accuracy of what was said.  Therefore, condescendingly labeling what I wrote as “talking points” doesn’t serve to address any points made therein, whether of the “talking” variety, or some alternate type.

     

    It basically boils down to being a AGW denialist.

    This is an example of the non-argument method of arguing (by which I don’t mean “fighting,” but making a case, and showing where the opponent’s case doesn’t hold up) called “Poisoning the wells.”  This method seeks to make something the opposition might say verbotten.  It often has the form, “Of course, only an idiot would ever say…”  To this you added the use of the word “denialist,” which is designed to tie into the connotation of “holocaust denier.”  Again, painting those with whom you disagree as either Nazis, or Nazi sympathizers is not really making your case, but rather makes it look like you don’t actually have a case — sort of like a wordy version of “It is not!” [Petulantly stomp foot here.]

     

    If you don’t want to believe in this stuff, and you don’t want the Green movement to gain any political [clout], then you’ll do anything you can to sabotage your perceived enemies.

    Again, a little thin on actual specifics.  This also imputes motive, with little to go on.  If I disagree with your position, it has to be because I don’t >i>want to believe it, without any real reason to think that that is, in fact, why.

    Second, my reason for my position can be nothing but political — and a “prevent defense” at that (do I detect a little projection here?).  I didn’t point to anyone as an enemy, yet you impute an antagonism to me.

     

    I do agree with you, that religious stance your wife came across is pretty ridiculous.  I hope you didn’t see any of that in what it is that I had to say.  If there was any of that in there, it was merely bad writing, not “true motives seeping out”; I don’t harbor those feelings at all.

    BTW: What is “BT?”

  7. 7 Dr. Prole Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    How about next year we have “Don’t sit in the closed garage with your car running day”? (Even though, yanno, exhaust fumes and carbon monoxide pollution are not in any way harmful. Heh.)

    @Brian, BT is “blogging tories”.

  8. 8 Bleatmop Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    Brian – You seem especially adept at reading in between the lines. I didn’t know I said half the stuff you stated I did. You even seem to have found out that my previous post was about you somehow, even when I addressed it to JJ. Clearly I need to work on my communication skills.

    So please accept my humble apologies for my unintended antagonizing of you. I didn’t mean to cause you any distress by making you feel that I was addressing you or your arguments in a way you didn’t approve of.

  9. 9 Brian Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    True enough. But you did say that I had summarized BTs’ talking points (appearing to tie what I had said to your comments about them). That is kind of reading between the lines, true; but it doesn’t seem too much of a stretch.

    Still and all, it seems it was a stretch too far, and I apologize for misinterpreting your post as including answering what I had previously said.

    And of course, your apology is accepted in kind.

  10. 10 J. A. Baker Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 7:20 am

    I mean, one volcanic belch out-scales any effort you might make by thousands of times;

    First of all, what do you mean by a “volcanic belch?” If you’re defining it the way I think you’re defining it, then how often does a “volcanic belch” of that quantity happen? Pretty rarely, I would think.

  11. 11 JJ Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Brian – I doubt the goal of Earth Hour is to significantly reduce energy consumption in and of itself — it’s a marketing tactic that maintains awareness, that’s all.

  12. 12 JJ Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 9:48 am

    CTZen

    Homo sapiens is the only species that knowingly and willingly fouls its own nest.

    It’s true: most animals know better than to shit where they eat.

  13. 13 JJ Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Bleatmop

    If you don’t want to believe in this stuff, and you don’t want the Green movement to gain any political cout, then you’ll do anything you can to sabotage your perceived enemies.

    😆 If that’s their intention, they’re a day late and a few dollars short. Nobody with any scientific cred thinks global warming isn’t happening — the only variable is how fast and how bad. Life has long since moved on from those in the “denialist” cult.

    Basically, it’s all in god’s hands, so repent, get saved, and when we all die, you’ll go to heaven.

    Yet another reason to eschew any religion that considers an “afterlife” more important than the here and now.

  14. 14 JJ Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Simon – I won’t ask you what you did in the dark if you don’t ask me! 😉 😉

  15. 15 JJ Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 9:59 am

    JAB

    If you’re defining it the way I think you’re defining it, then how often does a “volcanic belch” of that quantity happen? Pretty rarely, I would think.

    The argument is pretty much “It’s hopeless anyway so don’t do anything”. Like if you’re in a boat and there are two holes in the bottom, there’s no point trying to plug one of them because you’re sinking anyway… even though plugging one of them might keep you afloat a little longer.

  16. 16 JJ Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Dr.Prole

    How about next year we have “Don’t sit in the closed garage with your car running day”?

    Yeah, right after “Don’t Stab Yourself In The Eye With A Fork Day”.

  17. 17 JJ Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 10:02 am

    bleatmop

    So please accept my humble apologies for my unintended antagonizing of you. I didn’t mean to cause you any distress by making you feel that I was addressing you or your arguments in a way you didn’t approve of.

    😆 😆 😆

  18. 18 Brian Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 11:16 am

    it’s a marketing tactic that maintains awareness, that’s all.

    I think that is probably so. But really, how could anyone not be aware of the existence of this topic?

    Activism’s bread and butter is “awareness” campaigns. But it seems to me that this does far more to make activists feel that they are “doing something,” than it actually “does something.”

  19. 19 JJ Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Brian

    But it seems to me that this does far more to make activists feel that they are “doing something,” than it actually “does something.”

    So what? If the issue is top of mind it’s more likely that people will continue to do little things to save energy and address it with their elected representatives. IMO, this is far preferable to sleep-walking into whatever environmental situation waits in the future, whether it’s good or bad.

    I don’t understand how conservatives got this way — so afraid of environmental science. When I was a kid, conservatives were big time “conservationists”, as environmentalists were then called.

  20. 20 Brian Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Nobody with any scientific cred thinks global warming isn’t happening

       Actually, that’s far removed from the truth.   A big problem for those who are alarmed about AGW (though now Anthropogenic Climate Change has to be substituted for AGW) is the effect that those with legitimate scientific cred, and who disagree with the “A” part of ACC are having.   ACC is losing the day (finally).

       It is common to merely assert that anyone who disagrees is, by that fact alone, shown to be without scientific cred, but that is begging the question.

     

    Life has long since moved on from those in the “denialist” cult.

       There is no “‘denialist’ cult,” only people who, in looking at what is being presented by the alarmists, don’t believe there actually is a case for ACC.

       But in reality, the alarmist cult is losing ground — fast! — and will soon be relegated to the history books.   I understand full well that that bothers you — really, I do — but it is the way things are going.

     

    Yet another reason to eschew any religion that considers an “afterlife” more important than the here and now.

       This would only be true of the amount of importance were fixed, and therefore had to be apportioned.   But it’s not, so one can find the here & now however important you would say is the right amount (in absolute terms), and still find the afterlife more important.

       High emphasis on the importance of the afterlife as over against the here & now does things like arguing against stealing to make the here & now more palatable. (Just one example out of myriad.)   High importance placed on the afterlife need not diminish concern for the here & now.   It works out that way for some, but your statement was an absolute.

       So I would say that it is more like another reason to eschew failing to put sufficient focus on the here & now for religion reasons.   But then, proper balance is always important, this anecdote notwithstanding.

     

    If you’re defining it the way I think you’re defining it, then how often does a “volcanic belch” of that quantity happen? Pretty rarely, I would think.

      The point was one of scale, not frequency.

     

    The argument is pretty much “It’s hopeless anyway so don’t do anything.” Like if you’re in a boat & there are 2 holes in the bottom, there’s no point trying to plug one of them because you’re sinking anyway — even though plugging one of them might keep you afloat a little longer.

       It’s more like there is a hole, located so high the the boat will sink before the water level ever gets that high, yet industriously working to plug it anyway — and demonizing anyone who doesn’t help and/or tries to point out that your efforts are for naught.

       In this vignette there’s no danger, yet a flurry of pointless effort, with those who don’t participate in the pointless effort being as marginalized as the “fix-the-hole” crowd can manage.

       The planet is now cooling, probably (one more year ought to cement that probability).   But in any case, it has not been warming for almost 15 years now!
     

  21. 21 Brian Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    So what? If the issue is top of mind it’s more likely that people will continue to do little things to save energy & address it with their elected representatives. IMO, this is far preferable to sleep-walking into whatever environmental situation waits in the future, whether it’s good or bad.

    Except these are not the only two options — it’s a false dilemma.

    Time and resources would be far better spent on mitigation efforts. Mankind is not responsible for changes in the climate, and so has no way to “stop affecting the climate.”

    But in the case of a warmer climate, there would be some predictable results, most wonderful, some bad (more people die from excessive cold every year than from excessive heat). Time & effort spent on mitigating the bad could actually do some good, without wrecking the world’s economy in the process (which would be far harder on the world’s population than the trumpeted warming would ever be). But if people are so busy jumping on their horse and riding in all directions at the same time, their efforts are for naught, and those who would be helped my mitigation efforts will be drowned instead. Mitigating possible results of warming is not “doing nothing.”

     

    I don’t understand how conservatives got this way — so afraid of environmental science. When I was a kid, conservatives were big time “conservationists”, as environmentalists were then called.

    This is just a straw man. Conservatives aren’t “afraid” of environmental science. But here is that tired assertion again, that anyone who opposes liberals’ agenda can only be doing so out of fear. Come on: let’s have a genuine dialog without all these propaganda mechanisms.

    Environmentalists are not conservationists. Conservationists sensibly take care of the land, the flora and fauna upon it, and so on. That is not activism, and it is not political. Environmentalism is leftist activism. Of course conservatives are going to oppose attempts to promote leftism!

    Let me give an example. Laurie, a relative of my wife called from Oregon last week, and during the conversation Laurie said that they have lost 30 seep to cougars in the last year. Oregon has prohibitted hunting cougars with dogs. She also said that two male cougars were seen near town at the same time.

    The result of this environmentalism is that cougars can’t find enough food and so are both eating farmers’ animals, and are no longer staking out solo territory for males. A conservationist approach is to allow hunting in a way that controls the cougar population for the benefit of the cougars that remain, and the farmers. This is how wildlife and mankind can live in harmony.

    But if you tried to reintroduce hunting cougars with dogs, the leftists in Oregon would howl. It appears to me that they are the ones not formulating their position based on the available evidence (the science).

     

    Another example is ANWR. However much oil is actually there, private enterprise is willing to try to get it — at no expense to the government. The extraction would have virtually no effect on the environment there.

    The people who live there are all for it. Those who oppose it assert that it would be harmful to the big critter there (caribou? I forget.) This is the same thing they said about the pipeline that is currently in place between Alaska and the contiguous 48. But, now, after the fact, it has been found that the animals hang out nearer to the pipeline, because: 1) it’s warmer. 2) therefore the snow melts sooner and builds up later, so they have a longer season to get at the grasses they eat.

    But leftists and “environmentalists” produce commercials showing a wildlife paradise, and slam those who would try to get the oil there. Those panoramas though don’t show the actual ANWR, which is much more a frozen plateau.

    They say, “The oil there would only help for ten years!” Remember your example of the boat with two holes, where plugging one of them would allow you to stay afloat at least a little longer? This really is a situation where the efforts would hold off troubles. This in an environment where technological changes in the next tens years really do stand a chance of picking up the slack when the ANWR oil is exhausted.

    Anyway, conservationists and environmentalists are very different, one is not the “new name” for the same thing.

  22. 22 Anurag Tuesday, March 30, 2010 at 4:59 am

    I think Brian’s whole argument boils down to “global warming by humans is a hoax and we will spend time and money creating a better world for us to live in for nothing”.

  23. 23 Torontonian Tuesday, March 30, 2010 at 6:01 am

    Gee Brian, you sound as though you know what you’re talking about or else using boiler plate talking points from a
    conservative site.

    Tell us the truth; are you lifting material from another
    source AND are you another reincarnation of Jasper?

    Just wonderin’, yanno.


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