Monday, March 31, 2008

Earth Hour or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Candle

On Saturday evening, Christchurch joined other cities around the globe in turning off its lights for 60 minutes in what was called 'Earth Hour'. The idea being that everyone should turn off any non-essential lights in their house for an hour to make a stand against global warming. Despite an online survey indicating that most people didn't bother, the cause seemed to have worked as power consumption fell 12.8% across the city. Of course, this being a one-off event, it's difficult to foresee any long term impact this idea will generate.

Personally, I'm all for switching off any non-essential lights and other equipment because of three reasons completely superfluous to combating global warming:

1. It cuts down on your electric cost. A 60W left on all year will cost you $45. Granted, no-one leaves their lights on ALL the time but you could guestimate that you could save this amount by making sure you use it and other electric equipment less. For example, many people re-charge equipment. Instead of leaving it on X hours and checking at a later time that it's charged, take the time to read the manual or self-time so you don't overcharge it.

2. Candles add atmosphere to the room. They come in all shapes and sizes and especially now it's coming into winter and the days are getting colder there's something to be said for the 'burning effect' - be it a log/coal/gas fire or a simple candle. The scent of a candle also evokes a warm feeling so these are two things which the average bulb doesn't do.

3. Light pollution. More than any other country I've been to, New Zealand has, probably because of the size of the cities and the space between them, fantastic opportunities for star-gazing. Even on a cloudless night in our back yard there is more on offer than what could be seen back in Belfast so turning off non-essentials can only improve on this.


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