Mar 26, 2010

Earth Hour 2010

Tomorrow's the day we're all supposed to turn off our lights for an hour. The Earth Hour campaign is organized by the World Wildlife Fund. While the point of the exercise is apparently to "take a stand against climate change" it might be argued that Earth Hour is a wildly successful fundraising tool in which the WWF receives oodles of free publicity from media outlets, politicians, celebrities - even Google.

The high profile nature of Earth Hour is surely one of the reasons the WWF is now the world's wealthiest environmental organization. According to publicly-available figures compiled by, the World Wildlife Fund raised $3.1 billion in just six years (2003-2008). That's half a billion dollars annually.

The hype and silliness associated with Earth Hour 2009 was what finally pushed me, personally, over the edge. It was then I decided to begin researching the global warming debate in earnest. Too many things didn't seem to add up. Too much of what I was reading and hearing seemed to be mindless hype reported by people who had no real idea of what they were talking about.

This year I'll be joining those folks who are deliberately turning on all their lights during Earth Hour - to demonstrate that I am aware of Climategate and consider it an important matter.

Fellow Canadian Ross McKitrick teaches economics at the University of Guelph. After being questioned by a journalist regarding Earth Hour he has written up a short statement in PDF format explaining why he "abhors" this campaign. Two of my favourite quotes:

I don't want to go back to nature. Haiti just went back to nature. For humans, living in "Nature" meant a short life span marked by violence, disease and ignorance.

...through the use of pollution control technology and advanced engineering, our air quality has dramatically improved since the 1960s despite the expansion of industry and the power supply. If, after all this, we are going to take the view that the remaining air emissions outweigh all the benefits of electricity, and that we ought to be shamed into sitting in darkness for an hour, like naughty children...then we are setting up unspoiled nature as an absolute, transcendent ideal that obliterates all other ethical and humane obligations. No thanks. I like visiting nature but I don't want to live there, and I refuse to accept the idea that civilization is something to be ashamed of.


See also, Canadian newspaper columnist Lorrie Goldstein's views here

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