It's my birthday on Saturday, March 29th. I'll be thirty-mumble, but that's not important right now. Do you know what I'd really like as a present? I'd like you to turn your lights off between 8pm and 9pm, local time. It's Earth Hour:
On March 31 2007, for one hour, Sydney made a powerful statement about the greatest contributor to global warming – coal-fired electricity – by turning off its lights. Over 2.2 million Sydney residents and over 2,100 businesses switched off, leading to a 10.2% energy reduction across the city. What began as one city taking a stand against global warming caught the attention of the world.
10.2%? That's incredible. It's what E-Day should have been if it hadn't been so badly stuffed up.
In 2008, 24 global cities will participate in Earth Hour at 8pm on March 29. Earth Hour is the highlight of a major campaign to encourage businesses, communities and individuals to take the simple steps needed to cut their emissions on an ongoing basis. It is about simple changes that will collectively make a difference – from businesses turning off their lights when their offices are empty, to households turning off appliances rather than leaving them on standby.
So please will you give me a birthday present? Will you participate in Earth Hour, even if you don't live in one of the participating cities? Will you blog about Earth Hour and spread the word? Will you email people who you think might be interested?
I think this is really important. I think this could wake up the people who say "It doesn't matter what I do, I'll cut my carbon footprint when industry/the government/China cuts theirs". It proves that what individuals do does matter. I think it could shake up the people who say "I'm not prepared to go live in a cave just in case man-made climate change is real". It proves that you don't have to go live in a cave, small changes can make a big difference if everyone does them.
Just one hour. It will be fun. Turn off your lights (and other unnecessary devices). Then you'll have to figure out how to entertain yourselves in the dark for one hour. Personally I think burning paraffin wax candles kind of defeats the point, but we can quibble over that in future years. Burn a candle if it makes you happy. Join in, have fun, and talk about it to your friends and neighbours. Sing "Happy birthday dear Melanie", and then leave a comment here to say you did it. For me. For my birthday.
UPDATE 16/11/2009: This post seemed to be attracting a great deal of spam comments so I have reluctantly deleted the spam and disabled new comments