Saturday, March 28, 2009

How we observed Earth Hour

As many of you know, Saturday, March 28, from 8:30-9:30pm local time was designated as "Earth Hour". This event was devised by the World Wildlife Fund as a way for people around the world to show how much they care about the climate change crisis.

Its organizers acknowledge that an event directing people to turn out their lights for an hour is purely symbolic, but they believe that with widespread participation, an important message will be sent to the world's leaders:
This is not so much about saving energy. It is more a massive, global and overwhelming signal to our nations' leaders to say that climate change is important. That it matters a great deal. That we care. Now do something about it!
Climate change is important. It matters. We care. Now, leaders: get out there and send the global economy further into the abyss, all for the sake of unproven, questionable speculations about the role of carbon dioxide in the earth's climate! Yeah!

Not wanting to be left out, our family took care to show how much we care about the climate alarmism that is sweeping the planet. This picture shows how our house looked between 8:30 and 9:30 local time this evening.

Just kidding; I don't even know whose house that is. It's certainly not in our part of Texas.

But we did leave our lights on.

We didn't go out of our way to turn on additional lights, even though theoretically there was a lot of unused electricity out there at the time. We just went about our normal business of living our lives, not being deliberately wasteful, but also not feeling guilty for what we do use.

By now, the west coast of the U.S. is in the 8:30-9:30 zone, nearly completing the event's trek around the world. Interestingly, as early as 6:00pm U.S. Eastern time, Reuters was reporting that a billion people were participating in the event, a number which, as NewsBusters points out, could not possibly have been true at the time the article was posted.
So how does Reuters report that a billion people took part? According to the International Energy Agency, "Some 1.6 billion people, about one quarter of the world’s population, have no access to electricity today." The CIA estimates the world's population at 6.7 billion, so that would mean about 5 billion people in the world could shut off their lights in the global feel-good exercise. For Reuters to be correct in its one billion people claim, one out of five people would have had to participate. Since Earth Hour hadn't even arrived for much of the world at the time Reuters released its report, how can the agency already state as fact that there were a billion participants?

The obvious answer is it couldn't. Reuters made up a nice, round number to buttress its contention of massive worldwide support for Earth Hour. And no doubt it'll be picked up by mainstream media outlets across the country.
WWF did set a goal for 1 billion people to participate, so perhaps Reuters was engaging in a bit of hopeful speculation. Journalistic malpractice, sure, but all in service of a good cause.