Go an Hour Without Power: Earth Hour 2012

You’ve seen all the videos and images we’ve been featuring lately that astronauts on the International Space Station have taken of Earth from orbit. The one ubiquitous feature is the amount of lights showing up from cities and towns around the world.

But will you be turning off the lights this weekend for Earth Hour 2012?

Earth Hour is a world-wide effort to raise awareness about the need to take action on climate change. This year, Earth Hour is on Saturday, March 31 and starts at 20:30 (8:30pm) wherever you are. People all over the world — and off the planet — will be turning off non-essential lights for an hour. Even the astronauts on the Space Station will be doing their part, as well as watching from above to see if they can there is a noticeable change in the amount of lights from Earth. Astronaut and nature ambassador André Kuipers will be taking photos and videos of Earth Hour from space.

What began as a single-city initiative in Sydney, Australia – in 2007, Earth Hour has grown into a global symbol of hope and movement for change. Earth Hour 2011 was the world’s largest ever voluntary action with people, businesses and governments in 135 countries across every continent joining in the symbolic environmental event.

Organizers say as many as 1.8 billion people will participate this year. Will you be one of them?

Find out more about Earth Hour.

33 Replies to “Go an Hour Without Power: Earth Hour 2012”

  1. Love that you are writing about Earth Hour. There is so much more to be done that just one hour, but hopefully this raises awareness and changes perspectives.

    BTW, average citizens can help create a very large donation to Wildlife Conservation efforts.

    Basically, we are trying to win Walmart’s #GOTS contest to generate a huge donation towards wildlife conservation. You can watch the video at SmanimalWorld.com.

    Help the Smanimals save animals!

  2. I’m confused…
    I don’t mean any disrespect here – I swear it… But, what’s the point of this?
    Can sixty minutes of darkness save a polar bear?
    Birds who are normally adjusted to the night-lights of a city will end up crashing and getting killed.
    More car users will be blinded as idiots use their full-beams due to less light – hence endangering human lives too.
    I can understand it if its just to raise social awareness of light pollution… But if it’s for something else, what is it?

    1. In the aggregate, if even 10 percent of the US population participated, the energy savings would add up to tens of millions of dollars. Globally that number would increase and also add to that cost savings.
      More importantly this effort brings attention to how a very simple act can be very beneficial to the pocketbook and to the Planet as well.

      1. Hmmm, what? Where does that money go..? Basically, each person who turns off their electrical stuff each has an extra 10 cents or whatever. That money isn’t going anywhere. The electricity companies lose a bit of business though.

    2. Burn those paraffin wax candles (made from oil refining), and increase your carbon footprint!
      Hide in the dark, ashamed of all we’ve accomplished, and live like we did a thousand years ago – when we were a happier society!
      Run, lemmings, RUN!
      (Please send your dollars to Al Gore, and his ilk for redemption).

    3. Symbolism is like cocaine… might make you forget about your problems for a while but when you come down the problems are all still there and normally they’ve gotten even worse.

      And never apologize or feel bad for asking a rational question.

  3. I prefer to wait for Earth Day. It is at least 24 times better.

    It occurs to me this is just a large marketing event. Shirts, mugs, water bottles, wrist bands and lot of other ways for you to spend money you saved for those 3600 seconds.

    Just think Earth Day is 86400 seconds (boy I hope I did the math OK 🙂 and all the extra time you’ll have to contribute to the planet! So, Sunday April 22, 2012 is your chance to be part of a world wide event.


  4. I’m afraid I will have to agree with everyone here, good incentive, but it fails. Its like telling nature “we’re going to do what we SHOULD do, but only for an hour”, another similar example; those that drink coke zero cause it has no calories… the drink is still bad for you.

    My point is, we need to completely change the way we tap into our energy. After reading/watching documentaries the past 4 years, I noticed the potential we could have, yet if it makes no profit, its not worth making.

  5. I used to support Earth Hour, but I have realized it does not address the scale of the problem. Unfortunately the crisis of climate change is integrated within a larger problem; the corporate plutocracy that dominates our society. As long as we let the ruling class manipulate our politics and culture, they will continue stealing the future well-being from all life on this planet. Right now we are are looking at a 4° increase in global temperature this century, at which point positive feedback kicks in and we enter the largest mass extinction since the K-T event…

  6. I am not one of them. I’m not participating in a cause which only encourages my government to slap a GREAT BIG NEW TAX on me.
    Regardless of whether global warming is as much of a problem as its said to be – far too many personal interests are distorting the facts – and that’s both sides of the scientific argument.

    1. “The polar bears will be fine.” -Freeman Dyson

      I assume you’re going to accuse Professor Dyson of distorting the facts?

  7. I think I will be turning all of my lights, and every electrical appliance I have on for the hour. It is really a shame when a site supposedly dedicated to astronomy tries to push socialist political action.

  8. I’m surprised at the backlash here on this site to this idea. Most of these stories are astronomy related, and one would think that stargazers and science buffs would appreciate the sky darkening that might allow city dwellers to see the Milky Way in all it’s glory. Even if you disagree with the political ramifications associated with the initiative, it’s no reason to get hateful about a voluntary program intended to save the world a few dollars tonight.

    1. Okay. Just how is it going to ‘save the world a few dollars tonight’? Where is that ‘savings’ going to go? Feed the hungry? -> NO. Clean up a land fill? -> NO. Help Fund Clean Water? -> NO. It saves nothing to be honest. Especially if you light more then one candle and/or start a cozy warm fire. So exactly what few dollars is it saving who? I would love the answer to that one! It’s nothing more the ‘warm fuzzy political emotional button pushing correctness” Nothing more and whole lot less.

    2. I find the backlash significant but not surprising. In my experience, astronomy enthusiasts are split between the science people (who support action on climate change because they actually pay attention to climate scientists) and the space enthusiasts (who may also be science people but are often more motivated by a love of spaceship and rocket technology than science).

      Many technology enthusiasts have a deeply optimistic view of technology and passionately dislike environmentalists and others who suggest that much current technology including fossil fuels has serious limitations.

      Having said that, I do sympathise with those who find the idea of turning off the lights to be a bad symbol for taking action on climate change. I’d prefer people to insulate their homes or install more efficient lightbulbs myself.

  9. More Political Correctness run amok.

    I actually think higher of U.T. But I guess we all have to bleed into other parts of society.

    Turning off your power … and for those who decide to light a fire or candles actually cause more harm to the ’cause’ then good.

    I’ll let you think about that one.

    I wonder if turning off the Sun for an hour would help too, since it also plays a big roll in this!

    Oh wait, what about all those Volcanoes, BAD VOLCANOES!!

    Wait, what about Yellowstone?? Bad Yellowstone, bad!!

    I thought man had evolved from being all important, but I guess not. Man -vs- Volcano — Man Looses and does not even produce more Co2 then one Volcano in one year. :O

    Now can we get back to Astronomy?

    LOL .. The next topic I read is: COSMIC DUST & EARTH … 5 to 300 metric tons worth. Wow, we are doomed!! LOL ….

  10. So tragically, hopelessly, altruistically, beautifully naive:

    1. We are NOT causing ‘global warming’.

    2. The eco-motive isn’t “save the planet” (the planet will be fine): the motive is “save ourselves.”

    3. We are hard-wired for self-denial, thanks to generations of religious and political indoctrination and repression. Our rulers are co-opting our best qualities for the worst purposes, playing us like like the fools we are…

    4. The symbolism: Turning off Our Light!

  11. “..symbolic environmental event”

    Sorry I don’t do symbolism.

    How about the IPCC stop creating a huge carbon footprint by sending 10,000 scientists and UN specialists on junkets to Bali to talk about how to stop Global Warming?

    That would NOT be symbolic but something really concrete, right?

    Oh I am sorry… I forgot this is all about feeling good, not actually accomplishing something.

    1. You don’t do symbolic events ? No flowers on your mother’s grave ?, no saluting your national flag ?
      We all partake in a multitude of symbollicks every day.

  12. I have a question…If we are destroying the planet with CO2 emissions then any measure we take can not be too draconian right? Saving Planet Earth trumps everything else!!

    So why don’t we ban NASCAR and other races? I mean… driving around in a circle over and over has to be a big carbon footprint, right?And all those people showing up to the races… I doubt they all car pool right?

    And why are members of the IPCC meeting all over planet Earth when they could simply use the Internet to communicate?

    And heck… why not ban ALL air travel? The EU is trying to impose a carbon tax on flights going in and out of Europe. Why tax at all that does nothing… just ban it all.

    Ban every single thing that causes us to create a CO2 footprint.

    Ban shipments from other countries (no more iPhones or computers for us).

    Ban all travel cruises, all vacations that takes us over 100 miles from home.

    Heck… ban private ownership of automobiles and make everyone take mass transit.

    No measure could be too draconian if we are REALLY saving planet Earth and all life on it, right?

    Or is this just a bunch of bull?

  13. “Go an Hour Without Power: Earth Hour 2012”


    Ain’t giving up my birthright.

    “We will make electricity so cheap only the rich will burn candles”. -George Westinghouse.

    He was right then and he is right now.

  14. Apparently, Earth hour’s point is to separate the idiots from people who feel a kinship toward their fellow man and want to participate in an effort to show we don’t need to suck every bit of life out of our planet for the present generation. Thanks all for making it clear which side you’re on.

    1. Generalisations like this are so useless. People can have a contradictory opinion, not they should not be told what they should blankly think? Earth Hour is designed for the feeble mindless sheep not about implementing change. People are / have turn off climate change, either from politicians not in the majority elected government or from the fatalistic pulpit. Boo!

  15. Hey Dan: Don’t forget to run all your vehicles for that same hour! I do!

    The point is not that it hurts to do these things; but, that I don’t want to; and, don’t want even the appearance of following for these fad left wing ideological games.

  16. To quote the Australian ill-informed dummies who started this is global idea of Earth Hour, they say;

    “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.”

    Oh dear, how the world has changed!!!!

    Clearly, reading this, the vote notable went against them!

    It is only the tree hugging hippies are holding on to their ‘love-in’, while the scientific ‘culture of reason’ are made more irrelevant but the mindless masses. Everyone has just moved on.

    Moreover. The reasons for Earth Hour existing have changed so much, it has become past the Use By date. If we must do something, create something new with a new hook, not use the same old stale saccharin, puerile and sanctimonious claptrap.

    Please, no Earth Hour stories in 2013 please UT!!

    Also. Thank you Nancy for this far more balanced UT story that is ‘trotted-out’ each year . I just looked at the comments* of all the previous Earth Hour UT articles 2008-2012, and your approach is better than the seemingly emotive and quite glib reportage of Tammy’s.

    * Yes the comments are still there. Although the says that the old comments are closed, they are hidden in every UT story. All you have to do is either stop the page loading or download the page source code.

  17. Those interested might like to look the YouTube Video “Is Earth Hour Dead?” interview by one of the co-founder of this quite nuts movement, the Australian advertising guru Todd Sampson. (Advertiser= someone who knows how to manipulate the masses.)

    This interview was made on 31st March 2012, so it is current and a day after this UT story.

    Note: He has changed his message (tune) somewhat since it was introduced to become as unpopular as it is now.

  18. This is merely another propaganda to keep petroleum’s politcs alight: you simply gather some empathy from the “green froups”, whats makes all the ‘machine’ going on. Just that.

  19. If it was Earth day or week it may have some benifit but unfortunately due to the short term nature of the “Saving” most swing generators will keep up spinning resurve and not save much in fuel at all. Also large load swings cause disruption to the power supply so more spinning resurve is needed to absorb the load swing making it even less effective for reducing greenhouse emmisions.
    It may save a little if the swing producer is a Hydro dam but there are not many of those.

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