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Countdown to Earth Hour 2008…

earthhour_wideweb__470x4410.jpgDo you remember last year when Sydney, Australia made the news by turning their lights out for one hour to show their concern about global warming? Besides being concerned about the effects, especially for my children and grandchildren, as an astronomer I support anything which helps reduce light pollution, even if it’s just for an hour. Beyond extinguishing the lights for 60 minutes at 8pm March 29, 2008, there are lots of things you can do to make Earth Hour 2008 an even greater success. Let’s take a look.

2.2 million people and 2100 Sydney businesses turned off their lights for one hour – Earth Hour – March 29, 2008. According to their information, the greenhouse reduction achieved in the Sydney CBD during Earth Hour was sustained for a year, it would be equivalent to taking 48,616 cars off the road for a year. This year many major global cities are joining Earth Hour in 2008, and they’re are turning a symbolic event into a global movement.

Start showing your support by visiting our own Universe Today Earth Hour page and signing up on the UT page. You’ll see your name appear as an Earth Hour / Universe Today participant! Tell a friend. Better still, tell all your friends, and your family, and your workmates. Just email them with a link to this website. We may or may not make an impact, but it won’t be because we didn’t try. You can also organize your own Earth Hour activities as well and you’ll find packets and information on how to involve your community at the Earth Hour Website.

If you think this is going to be big, then you’re right. Created to take a stand against the greatest threat our planet has ever faced, Earth Hour uses the simple action of turning off the lights for one hour to deliver a powerful message about the need for action on global warming. This simple act has captured the hearts and minds of people all over the world. As a result, at 8pm March 29, 2008 millions of people in the world’s major capitol cities like Aalborg, Aarhus, Adelaide, Atlanta, Bangkok, Brisbane, Canberra, Chicago, Christchurch, Copenhagen, Dublin, Manila, Melbourne, Montreal, Odense, Ottawa, Perth, Phoenix, San Francisco, Suva and Lautoka, Sydney, Tel Aviv, Toronto and Vancouver will be participating as well.

At last count, over 172,000 individuals and nearly 12,000 businesses/organizations have agreed to support Earth Hour. Just who in the astronomy world would do that? In the United States alone you’ll find such great organizations Adler Planetarium, Arizona Science Center, Oceanside Photo and Telescope, StarPals, and The Chicago Astronomer just to name a few. You’d be amazed at the number of schools, universities, restaurants, motels, airlines and others that will be participating.

Sign up now… And let the Universe Today voice be heard!


Tammy is a professional astronomy author, President Emeritus of Warren Rupp Observatory and retired Astronomical League Executive Secretary. She’s received a vast number of astronomy achievement and observing awards, including the Great Lakes Astronomy Achievement Award, RG Wright Service Award and the first woman astronomer to achieve Comet Hunter's Gold Status.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Leanna Stead March 24, 2008, 10:32 AM

    The debate is valid, and I think there’s truth on both sides. I don’t think it’s possible for us to be the only cause, but we’re certainly not helping… and like quite a few people here have said, what harm can it do to turn off the lights for an hour?

    Besides, if your city decides to participate community-wide, as has also been mentioned, you’ll haev a totally *awesome* view of the stars as well even while you’re showing support for the Earth. Nothing wrong with that! I’m all for it.

  • Dr. Satyendra Bhandari March 24, 2008, 3:37 AM

    Even if it is not a great idea, it is a useful thought, and winderful at that. Fisrt and foremost, it is symbolic of a common public approach to bring awareness about a problem towards awareness about its importance of the problem at a planetary scale and a possible (philosophical ) hint about solving it. In any case it helps – to reduce load on Earth’s resources ( and eveyone’s electricily bill ) and – we all enjoy the darkness for a while – how wonderful the sky would look. Therefore, look up – and you would be hooked to the wonders of the dark (night) sky). In fact, this should be attempted evey night- all across the world. And if done simultaneously across the globe, we may even send a signal to the rest of the universe (may be some one is watching us.) about our common efforts.

    Whie at it, let me suggest that instead of writing – GLOBAL WARMING-Climate Change” all the time in print media millions of time per day, we can make a significant dent by using abbreviations like GW and CC. We can save paper and ink to the tune of large forests – every month/year etc. The IDEA is that idea is important and we should do whatever possible to save the Planet!

  • xn tyler March 24, 2008, 6:10 AM

    Who cares if human made global warming is real or not? Even if it is this hoax as you say. Why arent we trying to clean up the air we breathe regardless? Why do we have to use all our resources in ways that are unsustainable? Even if it is a red harring i dont mind bieng mislead in order to keep the few from getting rich off what belongs to us all. It is not exxons planet, it belongs to all people. Why arent you complaining about the poor african nations misled into loosing thier water, thier oil, thier people and culture? You are mad at people for trying to improve your life, and the lives of those people who have no say, just so you can pollute the world. The way we treat the earth is obviously harming it, i applaud any effort made to protect it. What can be the motives of those that dont?

  • milly (earth hour) March 24, 2008, 2:53 PM

    earth hour is very important event and we all need to do our little bit to save our plant.

    so on the march 29 2008 turn your lights and fans ect.
    off from 8:00pm to 9:00pm

  • Cheryl Stansberry March 24, 2008, 7:46 PM

    Ditto to Tammy Plotner – Thank you for your Grace –

  • Nancy March 24, 2008, 9:40 PM

    I am proud to say that I live in Sydney and took part in Earth Hour last year and I will be taking part again this year. Living in the city, you get very used to being able to see quite easily regardless of whether there is a moon of some sort or not and I think that we need to get more involved and see it as being more than becoming part of the “solution” for climate change. Yes, our planet has naturally been through changes like this and will continue to go through changes like this, but what will happen if we continue to abuse it has we have been doing for the last 100 years? It doesn’t mean that we are becoming part of the tree-hugging brigade. Think of it this way – if everyone in your neighbourhood/town/city turned off their lights for one hour, how many more wonders of the Universe could we see from our cities? We benefit, the planet benefits, astronomy benefits.

  • Mark Yannone March 24, 2008, 10:54 PM

    Lunacy runs rampant.

    If the goal is to use less energy, the goal is not achieved by having the planet turn off a light for an hour. What that does is postpone the energy use and reduce some very badly needed productivity.

    Try coming up with useful ideas instead–ideas that make sense. Consider:

    1. Eliminating the income tax in the US will take approximately half of the traffic off the roads, because in two-income households, one income does nothing but pay the income tax on the two incomes.

    2. Sell the public schools to the highest bidders; return the proceeds to the rightful owners; and discontinue all taxation and government involvement in education. Net result: Twice the education for half the cost. The long-term benefit of that is spectacular.

    3. Get complete control of your private property (income, real estate, savings). If you don’t control your property, you control nothing.

    4. The law specifies that “victimless crimes” cannot exist. Therefore, half of our 2 million inmates can be released with clean records so they can return to productive work.

    5. Since you own yourself, you can put whatever drugs you like into your body. The consequences will improve the decisions very quickly.

    6. Hemp is considered to be the greatest economic engine in the history of mankind. Therefore, it should not be illegal to grow it anywhere, no matter whose pet ox (forest industry, petro industry, pharmaceutical industry) is gored.

    That’s a start. There are many other things that we can do. Turning out a light bulb is not the best idea our human brains can produce.

  • Tammy Plotner March 25, 2008, 5:41 AM

    It may not be the best idea we can produce – but turning off the lights for one hour is something that even the least of us can accomplish in a matter of seconds.

  • T. Jones March 25, 2008, 4:47 PM

    It doesn’t matter what is heating up the planet. It doesn’t matter where the fault lies. It will be bad for us. So we should try to do something about it. The naysayers simply want to be lazy and continue to guzzle power and resources.

  • Ethan Adviento March 29, 2008, 3:50 PM

    Symbolic and one-off? Yes

    Important? Yes – we all need to be more aware and show intent.

    Difficulty is turning this goodwill in a one-off ‘show’, into tangible everyday practical steps to reduce our emissions and fight climate change.

    http://searchgreener.com is a green search engine using less energy and putting ALL money made back into buying carbonoffsets – something we can all do on a daily basis to search greener.


  • Jim March 29, 2008, 9:01 AM

    This is nonsence.
    Electricity isn’t produced in a “on-demand” basis, power plants can’t just shut off for an hour, so the unused electricity sill pollutes.

  • Rastloser March 29, 2008, 4:48 PM


    while it is true that fossil-fueled and atomic power plants can’t simply be shut down for some minutes, saving energy does indeed reduce pollution. The little percentage of energy that earth hour saves will have no impact on the base load power plants (coal, gas, uranium) but on the much more flexible peak-power plants. Each cubic metre of water that a pumped-storage power station does *not* have to pump upwards to the reservoir means that a bit less coal needs to be burnt.

    Sure, Earth Hour won’t be noticable on the grand scale of energy consumption. But please try to keep the discussion rational and your arguments correct and precise.

  • Dasha March 29, 2008, 6:35 PM

    Yea so I stopped reading responses about half way down the page cause I have a question.

    What does decided whether or not to turn off your lights have to do with Global warming. Whether global warming is real or not don’t you think burning coal and oil at an incredibly fast rate is bad for the environment anyway?

    Lets try “Turn off everything your not using 2009”. Or maybe “Use renewable energy as opposed to things that take millions of years to create 2010”.

    Damn you make this big of a deal over turning off the lights in your house for an hour I wonder how long it takes for you to decided whether or not to turn on the shower in the morning.

    People who make big deals over things like that indirectly tell the rest of us that they dont care about there children’s future. If we did find out that global warming was fake 100 years from now don’t you think that generation would thank you for trying to clean up the earth even if it had nothing to do with it.

    Yea so lets say it turns out that there is no global warming, what are you going to say. “Damn I cleaned up all those landfills and made places for other people to live. Shit, now what am I gonna do.”, Or “CRAP! now my air is clean.”

    Cant people just do things because they’re better in the long run?

  • Autumn March 30, 2008, 8:06 AM

    I don’t understand the negativity of some people. Even if we aren’t causing global warming, what is the harm in reducing the pollution we create in this world? I don’t understand why people are so against making our world a healthier place to live in regardless if we are causing global warming or not.