Countdown to Earth Hour 2009…

There’s less than 24 hours left before Earth Hour 2009 will begin. While you may hotly debate whether or not turning out your lights for one hour can impact our global climate – it’s not about what actually happens to our planet during that hour, but about showing you care. 3,900 cities and towns in 84 countries around the world will be shutting down the lights at 8:30 pm local time in one of the biggest events in history. Even if you don’t care, take the time to read just a little bit more… Where will you be when the lights go out?

According the latest Earth Hour bulletin: “More than 300 cities and towns in the U.S. representing 43 states and the District of Columbia are going dark as part of the largest global climate event in history. Before the rooster crows in most American cities on Saturday morning, lights will already have gone dark in cities like Christchurch, Sydney and Brisbane. By breakfast time on the U.S. East Coast, the cities of Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Singapore and Manila will be celebrating the arrival of the largest global climate event in history. Just before lunchtime in America, the lights will be dimming in Mumbai, Amman and Dubai. And by early afternoon in New York, it will be lights out in Paris, Istanbul, London and Copenhagen.”

Can you imagine places that you would never dream of going dark participating in such an event? During Earth Hour you’ll find The European Union Headquarters in Brussels, St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing, Washington, D.C, The Pyramids in Egypt, the Acropolis in Athens, the Broadway Theater District, the Space Needle in Seattle, and the Chrysler Building will all go dark for Earth Hour.

Read the Earth Hour Mission: “For the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming. WWF are urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion votes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009.

This meeting will determine official government policies to take action against global warming, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol. It is the chance for the people of the world to make their voice heard. We all have a vote, and every single vote counts. Together we can take control of the future of our planet, for future generations.”

VOTE EARTH by simply switching off your lights for one hour, and join the world for Earth Hour – Saturday, March 28, 8:30-9:30pm.

With much love to all of those who took the time to care and spread the word. Special thanks to Kim B. for all of her hard work in promoting Earth Hour!

51 Replies to “Countdown to Earth Hour 2009…”

  1. I think I am going to leave my lights on. I am in Ghana, West Africa, and our power supply tends to go off all the time for hours without warning.

  2. Then who’d notice, Dale?

    Anywho … noöne’s forcing you to join. I sincerely doubt that internet servers and telly transmitters are gonna be cut off.

  3. I will turn off the lights. I belive most people will. The sad thing is …. it won’t change nothing. We will show we care, but we dont decide about “polution reducing”, and switching to alternative sources of energy…

  4. I will defintily be taking part in this historical event, though i don’t know what i will be doing for that hour…

  5. Turning off suddenly and for one hour millions of lights in a big country can be very disruptive for the electric network and could have wide and long lasting negative consequences.

    I support the fight against global warming and planetary pollution, but I think this idea is not in the right path.

    Sorry to disagree…

  6. I’m turning on ALL my lights because all this environmentalist wacko nonsense is just that… nonsense.
    I wish you guys would stick with astronomy and stop feeling the need to educate us in wacky global warming myths.
    The Earth is not dying, cities are not going underwater, we are not out of food, gas, air, or room to build.
    I’ve gotten so weary of your enviro-rants that I have dropped my visits here by half.
    If you must continue turning this into an environmentalist platform instead of a great astronomy site, why not add some posts by scientists and meteorologists who disagree with global warming – there’s a lot more of them than we’re being told.

  7. I have a lot of lights in and on my house. They will all be on. This lights off stunt is a feel good measure for those who participate and it will accomplish exactly nothing. It won’t even raise awareness, whatever that is. No one is going to see a darkened house and then suddenly start buying the lie. I live in a forest. I protect the wildlife around me to the extent that they need protecting, which they generally don’t. I don’t clear cut trees. I don’t dump old oil in my stream. These things make sense. I also drive a very large SUV because I can make one trip to the store. That is better than multiple trips in an eco-bubble. A better way to make a difference is for everyone who thinks that CO2 is a pollutant to stop exhaling it. We will all be better off.

    Universe Today is a truly great astronomy site. Let’s keep it that way.

  8. bse5150 Says:
    March 27th, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    marco Says:
    March 27th, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Oh my God – you childish wankers! Have a little cry… I’ve got a tissue here for you to blow your nose when you finish.

  9. marco – if it won’t raise awareness, then how come someone like you who doesn’t seem to care about climate change is now aware enough to make a post about it??? huh?

  10. This is not an isolated event. Increasingly , ordinary citizens are taking action to express their desire to tackle our problems head on.

    I will turn off my lights here in NZ and will be among the first in a wave spreading across Earth, following the terminator. We have this op to do this thing, to start somewhere, here, now. I encourage you to take up your option on the future.

    Please participate in this gesture and then continue to do what you think is right. Unless of course what you deem proper is not. Some things are just right, this is one of those.

    Remember this? Do you know what it is and who wrote it?…

    We cast this message into the cosmos… Of the 200 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, some — perhaps many — may have inhabited planets and space faring civilizations. If one such civilization intercepts Voyager and can understand these recorded contents, here is our message: We are trying to survive our time so we may live into yours. We hope some day, having solved the problems we face, to join a community of Galactic Civilizations. This record represents our hope and our determination and our goodwill in a vast and awesome universe. -President J Carter

    That message is on a pair of golden records now crossing or approaching the heliopause of our solar system. Will there be a civilization here to contact? The choice is ours…yours…think. Think about what we can have by working together against ignorance. Leave your cynicism where it belongs, with your other childish castoffs. Spread your wings you eagles and fly. Time for fledglings to take to the sky. And on to the stars with confidence not desperation. Vote Earth!

  11. I’m outnumbered in my house. I’m the only one who wants to shut the power off. For Earth hour we will use less energy because I won’t have my computer on. I’ll shut off all the power strips in my nautical room where the computer, TV and all other electrical systems that are in the room. I won’t participate watching TV with my wife. It looks like I’ll just watch it snow. We’ll get two feet of snow. If you get snow on your shoes, that’s two feet of snow.

  12. “Oh my God – you childish wankers! Have a little cry… I’ve got a tissue here for you to blow your nose when you finish.”

    That’s high IQ stuff for an Enviro-naive. A good True Believer response.

    Here’s another winner:
    ” Think about what we can have by working together against ignorance. Leave your cynicism where it belongs, with your other childish castoffs. ”

    Yes, leave your “ignorance and cynicism” behind and trust us True Believers. Look what we did with the DDT scare. We’ll kill another few tens of millions of black and brown people, God bless our righteous white selves.
    Abandon doubt and denial. Join us as we save Earth. Have faith that we are finally getting it right on the threat of Global Cooling/Global Warming/ [DAMN IT!] uh…Climate Change.

  13. Mike Jackson Says:

    “We’ll kill another few tens of millions of black and brown people, God bless our righteous white selves.”


  14. We must save the earth!!!. We must shut down all of our industries, companies and jobs and send them all to China so we can save the environment!!! We can feel really good about ourselves while we starve to death.

  15. i say, turn your lights off if it makes you feel better and part of a movement you believe positive. maybe you’ll feel like doing it again. that’s a good thing.

    if it makes you happy to complain about government, economics, the planet, the futility of doing anything there are plenty of other forums for that – feel free to submit your comments there.

  16. My question is – why does this take place on a Saturday night when most business are closed? If Corporations REALLY wanted to show that they are all for the “environment” why not make it 4pm on Friday, send their workers home and REALLY make a “statement”? There are very few busineses open on a Sat night – and if it’s just about turning off the power overnight, why not EVERY night. This is just feel-good propaganda by big corporations who don’t lose anything by turning off the power when they aren’t even open. Sheesh!

  17. jose luis claims:
    “Turning off suddenly and for one hour millions of lights in a big country can be very disruptive for the electric network and could have wide and long lasting negative consequences.”

    I can see how this would be the case if millions of lights were suddenly turned ON…. but turning OFF?
    What on Earth could those wide and long lasting negative consequences be??
    Too much unused electricity clogging up the wires???
    The grid exploding under all that pressure build-up????

    Ah, I got it: a shortfall of revenue for the electricity supply companies will lead to staff redundancies, lay-offs, leading on to civil unrest, public riots, civil war, the total breakdown of science and communications…..

    Goodness me, I never considered any of those threats. I _WAS_ going to switch off, but now I must re-consider. I must hurry and post warning messages to as many Blogs and Message Boards as possible……….

  18. btw – 8:30pm GMT is a half hour after midnight in NY.

    the US will be dark until it ends an 4:30 am in Califorrnia.

  19. That’s a CRAZY MOONBAT idea with little follow through thought…………

    so how PROUD of yourselves will you be when the HOUR is UP and you ALL TURN BACK ON YOUR LIGHTS AND BLOW UP ALL THE ELEC GRIDS FROM HERE TO TIM BUCK TOOOOO???


    how about we all just AGREE to conserve and actually DO?

    dee, dee, dee moon battys

  20. I’m split on this idea. (a little)

    Light pollution & astronomy do not mix well, so that would sway me to the yes its a good idea side.

    But then you have the eco-crazys lapping this event up like its a concert and Elvis has returned from the dead to head line it, which would sway me to the no side.

    Damn those eco-crazys are witty, and light pollution does not affect me and my scope, so I’d have to say no to this idea.

    Most people will probably have forgot the point of all this as soon as the lights are back on again anyway, what where we talking about again?

  21. I’m with bse5150 and marco. I’ll be leaving some lights on while I’m at work. I turned everything on last time this nonsense came around. I think turning all the lights off and being in darkness is symbolic of the dark ages when people where ruled by superstition and fear. As advanced as we are, we still succumb to the fear and nonsense of people like Al Gore and company and ignore science. Maybe it’s just a human trait to latch on to fear and superstition. Oh well, my lights will be on to try and help regulate the grid.

  22. Man! The crazies are really coming out the woodwork!

    That’s the thing about cynics: They complain that no-one is doing anything about anything, but when you do something about something, they say it’s a waste of time!

    I say: Go Earth Our! Fine, it’s not gonna save the world. But it sure helps to force those sittng on the fence to make a decision. Not that you are evil if you don’t partake, of course. 🙂

  23. Very well said Ken B.

    “symbolic of the dark ages when people where ruled by superstition and fear.”

  24. i guess somehow people really misunderstand – or else i do. it’s a matter of turning off your lights for an hour – not your power. i fully intend to make sure my house is dark during earth hour, but i’m not going to turn off my freezer or refrigerator, nor shut down my motherboard.

    by my house being dark for that one hour, i hope to show others that i am aware of what is going on and that i care.

    i am not an eco-crazy – although i do recycle, don’t litter, have my pets spayed or neutered, don’t waste water, carpool and watch my environmental footprint as much as possible. even though i’ve never hugged a tree, i just might go out between 8:30 and 9:30 local time and choke an oak just for the heck of it.

    and send a great BIG smile up towards the sky – even if it’s cloudy – for all of those who took one hour out of their time to flip a simple switch to show they cared and understood the message.


  26. I know its just turning the lights off, but I think it would be like myself getting my computer Y2K compliant back in 1999.

    Environmental scare mongering is the Y2K bug all over again. Only this scare has no time limit.

    Anyway enjoy the evening folks whatever you decide.

  27. @ Astrofiend,

    Reread your post and then see who is being childish. I propose people doing real things about environmental conservation, you talk about turning light bulbs off for an hour so everyone can see how good you are. As for the global warming/climate change/some-new-name-next-week issue, it has reached the point in which those who believe in it are the reality deniers. Humans have an undeniable impact on the environment. Manhattan does not look like it did 200 years ago. However, Manhattan does not represent the rest of the US. Less than 5% of US land is residential land. Less than 20% of US land is in either residential or agricultural use. The reason I use US figures is because I don’t have the numbers for Europe, and at least half of the environuts come from the US. There are sensible things we should be doing to protect them environment. Doing the light bulb equivalent of wearing a lapel ribbon is not one of them. I have been in a lot of third world countries. Want to do something great for the environment? Let’s get those people cheap, dependable, always on electrical power for cooking, heating, cooling, and commercial activity so that they can rise to Western standards of living so they can have clean environments like we do. Here’s another number for you. The typical coal powered plant needs 150 railroad cars per day to operate. There is nothing substantially wrong with coal, but it must be mined, transported, and burned. One nuclear plant uses less than one tractor trailer load of fuel every five years. But environmentalists would rather people just quit using electricity. Wind and solar may be the answer some day, but that day is not now. Solar would take half of the state of New Mexico, a very large state if you have never had to drive across it like I have, to provide the current needs for the US. Of course, those panels would only supply power for half the day. We would have to burn candles at night. Just two candles exceeds the pollution output of all of the bulbs in your house. Then, as we have seen with the Mars Rovers (remarkable machines), solar panels get dirty. Where would we find the extra power and water to clean 40,000 square miles of solar panels?

    I have deer close to my house everyday. I make sure they are not disturbed. I pile sticks and brush for cover for the small prey animals. I don’t dump waste in the forest. I don’t kill animals, even the poisonous snakes, needlessly. I take care of the forest. You turn off lights for an hour. Who is the childish one?

  28. So much emotion over a fun little thang, a world event to just say we care. Thank you, Ms. Plotner for the article and caring.

    Caring is important. But I fear it is too late. The human species may survive but it is in for hard, hard times ahead. The worst pollution is two fold, our unchecked reproduction and maybe more importantly, those so very narrow minds with wide, wide mouths.

    And yes, people, it is just about your lights. Just for an hour. Hey, the moon will be thin and if it is clear, it would be a great opprotunity for seeing the night sky! I wish it was later to insure the sky was darker. We will still have a bit sunset left in the West when it starts.

  29. This gives me a further excuse to sit quietly and gaze at the sky. Perhaps the stars will be out. It is a symbolic gesture that is easy to make depending on one’s mindset. Will it have any impact on mankind’s survival? It is doubtful.

    Looking over the posts here I see a quite ration of hatred coming from those who loudly dispute global warming. That they refuse to support any of this is no surprise. Species go extinct on this planet all the time so it is quite likely mankind will too. It is just a matter of time unless we get off this planet. However, the shortsighted are all too eager to lead us over the cliff. Only the very few understand just how fragile life is on this tiny planet.

  30. I’ll be out and about when the lights are to go out but I’ll be sure to leave my lights on.

    As mentioned in the article, the lights off may not make a difference but it shows you care. Feel, don’t think. Sounds like so many other liberal lies. They’ll tell you to look at their intentions and not the results of their policies no matter how much money the failures cost or how much control they put over your life. This scam is just one more in the multitude of scams they’ve pulled on the populace over the years.

  31. Those who use the terminology of “liberal” or “liberal” provide us with buzzword popular among biased partisans.

    I lived in Alaska for two years and have personally seen the permafrost melting. I have seen the results of glaciers retreating. Global warming is an inescapable fact. If the biased wish to listen to partisan politics rather than empirical evidence … go ahead. Just don’t expect reasonable people to ignore what they have seen and experienced just because the Hannity’s and O’ Reilly’s of the world so easily manipulate your populist fears.

  32. It disgusts me how some always feel the need to involve partisan politics in largely unrelated fields, such as science and exploration. Just because you don’t agree with something does not mean it is the work of scam artists.

  33. Thank you Tammy for putting the idea of Earth Hour into perspective for so many who don’t understand. It is an effort to show “we care” and that effort is a step towards understanding the complex systems of our planet. I will be showing “I care” just by participating in turning out “nonessential” lights during a small slice of time.

  34. We should turn on our lights in protest against the ban on drilling for our own energy. (oil that is) more btu’s per the oz.)

  35. Well, that was fun! I turned on all my lights, plugged in my computer and ran my car too! Global warming, environmentalist wackos, climate change – all nonsense!

  36. I intend to grab the first five greenies that come by the house and toss them onto the coal fired pyre in my front yard. Then, if I’m still hungry I’ll just toss another greenie on the barbie.

  37. Tammy sez: “it’s not about what actually happens to our planet during that hour, but about showing you care.”

    Tammy, you are putz number one.

  38. @ rwb music

    I see no hatred. Yet another straw man argument. Interestingly, those who feel rather than think tend to feel that opposing arguments are hatred. Grow up. If you are afraid to debate then you are stuck in schoolyard arguments. Except for one piece of anecdotal evidence in one post, all I see are emotional appeals in the posts supporting this lights off show. This is a science website. I would think that logic and reasoning would predominate, not emotion. For that, I am sure that Oprah and Dr. Phil have sites. Furthermore, I thought this was an astronomy site. There are plenty of pro and con sites for this topic elsewhere on the web. Bring on more Hubble pictures.

  39. sticks and stones…

    from what i’ve read of these posts the only ones who seem to have had a problem with the whole issue were the ones opposed to just turning off their extra lights for an hour.

    it’s really too bad you didn’t join in the fun! rather than going around my house switching on lights, starting cars and lighting fires – i turned ’em off and joined my astronomy club at a neighboring town’s local park to give a stargazing program. we didn’t preach eco – we wore a discreet “earth hour” button, took light meter quality readings from several locations to guage the impact and turn in our findings, and simply enjoyed the people who came to look through our telescopes and told them about the sky.

    funny thing that… you may say there is no such thing as karma – but my part of ohio was scheduled for thunderstorms at the time. yet, we had the most magnificent clear skies just open up during that time… and the lightning, rain and thunder came later when the lights came back on. coincidence? yeah. but it was certainly a welcome one…

    the putz wishes the same good karma and a sky full of stars to all of those who took 60 minutes of your time to simply flip a switch and show that you cared….

  40. I turned on a bunch of outside lights and felt good about it because they were high efficiency flourescent bulbs. I was celebrating the technological advance of human kind and our ability to innovate! Then I threw 2 frozen pizzas into the electric oven and let them cook for the entire hour.

    ComEd n Chicago claims an actual 1% drop in electric useage during that hour but for some reason they feel compelled to correct that measurement because of weather influences. Last year the number was readjusted from 5% to 7% reduction. So in theory in today’s world a 1% increase in electric useage could be readjusted to a 1% decrease. Imagine that! I should have turned on more lights and appliances…

  41. Every day I try to use as little electricity as I can – CFL’s in every socket that makes sense, turn off the tungsten lights on a dimmer and turn on the “torchiere” with CFL, turn off lights I’m not using.

    I spent Saturday in Cleveland, and near the baseball stadium, NO ONE seemed to be aware of Earth Hour. I didn’t notice ONE thing different, except that I was watching video on my computer without even a 12 watt CFL burning.

    We must just be some trend setters – wait until electric prices are $1/kwh and people will notice.

    Then again, we may just dive into a period of runaway global warming, mankind could then essentially become extinct, and in the coming eons, the earth will repair itself.

    When EVERY scientist I follow insists that global warming is REAL, how can I put my head in the sand??

  42. i’m happy to say i did and got my mom too also.i also sent out bulltins on myspace and put up topics on my myspace groups; in one group it was a very active topic.i’m gald that i was able to help spred the word.

  43. although the time has passed, you might find some great beauty in the pictures posted here on the Boston Globe. be sure to click on the pictures and watch as the lights go down.

    i am also very proud of those who added supportive comments here as well and took part in the event. i am almost afraid of what some these folks might do when asked to participate in “100 hours of astronomy”… 😉

  44. >>>Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming. WWF are urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion votes<<>In 2008, world population is 6.7 billion<>hundreds of millions of people have “voted earth”<<

    Total votes for Global Warming: The difference

    And the winner is: (In democrazcy, te most voted…) Make your own calculations.

  45. Tammy, the link to the Boston Globe was excellent! Very good pictures, I think more lights need to be turned off every night. Not just for global warming issues, but for light pollution, which in my opinion has become way to rampant. I like looking into dark night skys. Thanks for a great link!

  46. “If man is to save man, then he must first save his environment” I flipped one switch, the main breaker; then spent the next 3hrs, outside, under the sky; ” which cleared off just for the event” and got the best readings of the year! Mid-Ohio down 4% 🙂 My thanks to everyone who helped make this a great success! Special thanks to Tammy Plotner for her continued inspiration and friendship! Dark Sky is still out there!!

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