Countdown to Earth Hour 2008…

Do 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!

34 Replies to “Countdown to Earth Hour 2008…”

  1. It amazes me how so many, so called educated people, become fools in believing that we anthill sized lifeforms can cause any global warming! They remind me of the fools on the building top waiving at the giant spaceship in “Independence Day”.

    The majority of the reputable scientists dismiss the “Gore Lie” as just what it really is. A lie with designs to make money off the ignorant.

    Get over it. The Earth has existed through more global warming and global freezing episodes than most fools out there can count.
    All the solar planets are warming at the same rate. The Sun is emitting more radiation than we humans have ever measured in our short little lives. It will continue to do so as it too, is aging.

    Just learn to adapt! Or, go the way of the ignorant dinos.

  2. Bill, es significativamente evidente que perteneces y representas al 5% del la población del planeta que cree ciegamente en el beneficio que hace USA en Irak, la eficiencia de la FED o la total remisión del alcoholismo de cierto lider. El mismo 5% de los habitantes del planeta que se cree dueño de los destinos y recursos del otro 95%. Ese 5% que Michael Moore ha definido, con bastante más acierto que yo, stupid white men.

  3. that is not true for canada cuz otherwise i ll hav to go out in 1-2 hour to take notes….
    for what counrty is this skywatch?

  4. Man made global warming is a hoax. Co2 is a result of global warming not a cause. The greatest “green house gas” is water vapor! When global temperature increases, water vapor increases.

  5. Global warming or global ice age? It is my opinion that science has not studied the situation long enough to give us accurate facts.

    I have no faith in politics – only in humankind. I do not believe everything I read in the news – and only a part of what I observe. However, if there is even a tiny chance that something as easy as turning off my lights for one hour can cause a change – even a small one. Then it is the least I can do.

    I have respect for humankind all around the world. If one of my brothers or sisters asks for such a small thing as turning off my lights for one hour to show respect for their cause, and it is one that affects us all, then I most happy to do so.


    El calentamiento global o mundial edad de hielo? Es mi opinión que la ciencia no ha estudiado la situación durante el tiempo suficiente para darnos datos precisos.

    No tengo ninguna fe en la política – sólo en la humanidad. No creo todo lo que he leído en la prensa – y sólo una parte de lo que observo. Sin embargo, incluso si existe una pequeña posibilidad de que algo tan fácil como apagar las luces de mi durante una hora, puede causar un cambio – incluso uno pequeño. Entonces es lo menos que puedo hacer.

    Tengo el respeto de la humanidad en todo el mundo. Si uno de mis hermanos o hermanas pide tal cosa como un pequeño apagar las luces de mi durante una hora de mostrar respeto por su causa, y es uno que nos afecta a todos, entonces yo más feliz de hacerlo.

    الاحترار العالمي او العالمي العصر الجليدي؟ ومن رأيي ان العلم لم تدرس الوضع لفترة كافية ليعطينا حقائق دقيقة.

    وليس لدي اي نية في السياسة — الا في الجنس البشري. لا ØŒ لا أعتقد ان كل ما قرأت في اخبار — وسوى جزء مما ألاحظ. ولكن ØŒ اذا كانت هناك فرصة ولو ضءيله على ان هناك شيئا بالسهوله تنفير بلادي الانوار لمدة ساعة واحدة يمكن ان تحدث تغييرا — حتى صغير واحد. ومن ثم فإن أقل ما يمكن أن أفعله.

    عندي احترام لجميع البشر في جميع انحاء العالم. واذا كان احد اخوتي او الاخوات يسأل عن شيء من هذا القبيل الصغيرة كما تنفير بلادي الانوار لمدة ساعة واحدة لاظهار الاحترام لقضيتهم ، وانها هي أحد أن يؤثر علينا جميعا ، ثم انني في غاية السعاده للقيام بذلك.


    Let’s all go out and look at the stars….

  6. Bill- the overwhelming majority of scientists (reputable AND not) accept the fact that anthropogenic global warming is happening. The only people who deny this are fringe scientists (usually not even climatologists), bloggers, and conservative radio talk show hosts.

    As for “all” other solar planets warming up- That is complete and utter nonsense. Take a look at this:

    Jim- It’s been well established CO2 is the cause. About water… water vapor is a trailing gas, not a forcing gas. As you yourself said, “When global temperature increases, water vapor increases.”… The amount of water vapor in the atmosphere depends on the temperature. The amount of CO2 gas doesn’t. Hence CO2 being a forcing gas (causes global warming) and not a trailing gas (increases the warming).

    Tammy- With all due respect, your opinion is utterly meaningless. The people who have spent their lives studying climate and whatnot overwhelmingly say that anthropogenic global warming IS happening.

    You SHOULDN’T have faith in the media and whatnot (in fact, the media gives the pseudo scientific perspective FAR more time than they rightfully deserve), but the fact that the overwhelming number of scientists say AGW is happening should at the very least give you some pause.

  7. Let’s be fair. Antropocentric Global Warming is the current scientific concensus. The vast (yes, vast) majority of scientists working in the relevant fields feel that the actions of man are doing something really severe to the environment.
    There are many scientists who disagree, and their disagreements, even though a minority opinion, are worthy of inspection.
    Let’s not cheapen the debate by claiming on either side things which are not true.
    I happen to think that the preponderance of evidence is suggestive of AGW, but I do not pretend that alternative explanations are dismissable.
    On the other hand, claiming that AGW is being disputed by a significant percentage of investigators is also silly.

    There is a general scientific consensus.
    This is not an indication of infallibility on the parts of the scientists involved.
    All we have is the data that seem, to most of those qualified to study these things (and I do not pretend to be one of them), to indicate that the influence of humanity’s sudden injection of millions of tons of excess carbon into the atmosphere every week may cause the climate to undergo difficult to quantify, or even to qualify, fluctuations.

    I would rather err on the side of caution, but I will defend to the death the right of others to err on the side of hedonism.

  8. I can’t believe that on a website as prestigious as this people are still arguing about the causes of climate change.

    ‘Isn’t that an iceberg we are appoaching?’
    ‘Naw, we know there are no icebergs in this area, so it can’t be. Forget about it.’

  9. For those who would say “no” to Global Warming, I ask:

    What harm would it do to turn off the lights for one hour (or more, for that matter)?

    Conserving Earth’s resources is just another part of being good stewards of this old planet.

    Must humankind leave its trash everywhere we go? The human footprint on this earth is obvious. Whether we are the sole cause of this mess, is certainly up for debate. But why not work to improve the situation.

    Will our efforts be enough? Who knows! But we can’t know until we start doing something about it. This one hour event is one small first step in that direction.

  10. Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!
    Oi! Oi! Oi!

    Australia was the first to do it, and it is wonderful that the other countries are now adopting it for themselves!

    Perhaps us amateur astronomers should be going outside to
    observe the sky during the hour in question, and that we save on
    power when the all the lights are turned out for dark adaption.

  11. Think about Global Warming like this, if you have a swimming pool and someone takes a leakt, the volume of water will dissipate the effect. The same with the earth. Only problem is if everyone in the pool decides to leak the pool suddenly becomes gross. The earth can absorb massive quantities of waste and we love to do it al at once but there is evidence that we are making this place gross. It is prudent on our part to accept our role (responsibility?) and try to leak at sustainable rates.

  12. Global Warming or not,,, I think it would be fun just to see if the whole world could come together and do just one thing in common. Who knows, something else could start,,, such as global peace???

    I say let’s go for it…

  13. Turning out the lights isn’t a radical idea. Just do it for a little while and shut up.

  14. Bill — a) Prove your assertions, using solid evidence and plausible scientific models. b) Adapt how? Become little purple marine bacteria that thrive during extreme global warming episodes, such as that which closed out the Permian? c) Die off like the dinosaurs? Do you mean we should pull down a 10-mile wide comet to do unto us as a similar one did to the dinosaurs? Or commit collective suicide? You think anyone’s going to take that seriously? d) See (a), above.

  15. To those who don’t believe in the reality of global warming:

    I don’t understand how you so often connect “I don’t believe global warming is a real effect” with “we don’t have to conserve energy”. Those two statements are not really connected closely.

    Energy generation with the methods we use today impacts the environment in lots of not-at-all-subtle ways: Strip mining for coal or oil sand creates large wastelands that need to be recultivated with quite a lot of effort. Mining for uranium or driling for oil and gas means there’s a risk that dangerous substances are released into the atmosphere or into drinking water. Plus, all these resources are finite. With oil and coal being such interesting raw materials for the chemical industry, it seems a waste to just burn them up in as huge quantities as we do today, doesn’t it?

    So, whether or not you think that us who think global warming is a real threat are right: If that belief leads to saving energy on a global scale, why not leave it be? Be glad that we get on with some coal pits less, be glad that there’s that one dark hour for getting out your telescopes, and continue believing what you want!

  16. In all the hoo-hah over the question of whether global warming is “real” or not, very few people seem to realize that there are two questions here, not one, and they are not identical: 1) Is global warming occurring? 2) If global warming is occurring, what can be done about it? These are *not* the same question. Evidence seems to point strongly in the direction of a “yes” answer to the first question. But that doesn’t mean that the proper response to global warming is to jump on the nearest bandwagon and become part of a movement out to ban technology and set an elite few to control everyone else on the planet “for their own good.” The answers to global warming lie in the exploration of space and exploitation of the resouces of the Solar System, such as the vast amounts of sunlight that can be captured beyond the Earth’s atmosphere and used to generate all the power Earth will ever need for the foreseeable future. Those who favor control over Earth’s burgeoning billions as the answer to global warming would doom those billions to nasty, short, and brutish lives, and ultimately send us down the road to extinction. Those who seek space-age solutions to global warming would give Earth’s teeming masses rich, even luxurious lives, and open the road to the stars. So where is the consensus on that second question?

  17. To all of the ‘intuitive scientists’ (…it can’t be true – I’ve thought about it REALLY hard!) out there who come out of the woodwork to comment on any of the global warming articles on UT – I hope you’re correct and that the 99.9% of researching climatologists are wrong and the mountains of evidence have been mis-interpreted. We’ll see in the next 30 years. But if they’re not wrong, I’m going to get my kid to punch your kid in the nads for having such thoughtless bastards as parents.

    On to the event though – being a Sydney-sider myself, I can attest to the fact that it was quite spectacular and a little eerie being in a city with most of the lights all of a sudden going out. It looks great, and the comments that can be heard from other people – ‘Wow! Look at all of the stars!!’ are worth the experience alone.

    A lot of Sydney restaurants held special evenings for the event which was a great way to see it. Good food, dark skies, loads of booze and an interesting ghost city effect all combined to make it a great experience.

    I’ve also heard some make the comment – ‘turning off lights for only an hour isn’t going to make any significant impact on emissions’. Duh – it’s a symbolic event, morons!

  18. I think TerryTL is right, but most people don’t really think about it and those who do just believe that it’s only them who do those things! That’s the bad part: most of us don’t think that, if every people on this planet would do the same, there would be a significant difference. In better or in worse, depending on the action we do. So, you may not think that turning off the lights for one hour will make any difference, but trust me, it will! And if every single person would think as you do, there wouldn’t even exist an Earth Hour, would it?

  19. Just a tad worrying this Global Warming business.
    Those of us who have lived for a long time will realise that it is now noticably warmer than years ago. The natural causes of climate change include the effect of precession but that operates on a 26,000 year cycle, not a lifetime cycle. To get a good understanding of the problem then read “Global Warming understanding the forecast “by David Archer and published by Blackwell Publishing in 2007, it deals with the water vapour problem too. A bit technical but it is worth the effort.

    As I live on naturally reclaimed land at sea level you can bet I am supporting projects like Tammy’s.

  20. Wow. I knew that all groups of people have their members who know they are the only ones “right” about everything. I also knew that all groups have their share of naysayers and bullies.

    This is a simple, symbolic event to try and get people working together about something. Why do you have to put it down and call people names. Aren’t you out of elementary school yet? Aren’t you an adult with more important things to do?

    I can only be hopeful that my own young children, who are more kind and open-minded than some of the adults on here, will not become small-minded cowards who sit behind a keyboard, putting others down for their beliefs.

  21. 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.

  22. 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!

  23. 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?

  24. 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

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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. 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.


  30. 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.

  31. Jim,

    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.

  32. 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?

  33. 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.

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