– from 8:30 to 9:30 pm local time (or 2030 to 2130) tonight. Join over 3,400 towns and cities in 88 countries across the globe and turn your lights off, sit by candle light, go outside and watch the stars. Two years ago, Sydney launched Earth Hour, a campaign to raise awareness about the devastating effects of burning fossil fuels. This year, Andy Ridley, the organizer of the event, expects one billion participants. And countries such as India, China, and Brazil with their high-emission economies are participating, thus drawing attention to the problem of climate change.
Of course, some skeptics doubt whether this global event is more than just an empty, symbolic gesture, claiming that the use of candles could possibly produce more emissions that electric light. While this may be true or not, there is a useful educational component to any action that changes one’s habits, to a conscious choice versus a routine practice. Instead of just flipping on the light switch, one has to decide how to spend this hour — maybe a walk outside eliminates the need for candles altogether. In any case, it requires a deliberate action.
Landmarks including the Sydney Opera House, the Vatican, the Empire State Building, the Acropolis, the pyramids at Giza, and Beijing’s most prominent Olympic building, the Bird’s Nest, will go dark for one hour. People from all over the world can join in and demonstrate their concern about climate change. Nothing wrong with that, I’d say.