Earth Hour today, but frankly, I don’t think everyone turning off the lights would make much of a difference, for the following reasons:
- If candles are used to compensate, CO2 emitted by the candles will more than make up for what wasn’t emitted by power plants.
- It is pure “slacktivism”, which will make people feel like they are making a difference while not actually having much of an effect.
- At best, Earth Hour raises awareness. While that is important, more substantive action is necessary.
Much better individual things you can do about climate change include:
- Eat less meat, especially of ruminants. Most people in North America consume way more protein than is necessary to stay alive.
- Walk more and drive less. Telecommute if possible.
- Rather than turning up the heat when you’re cold, put on a sweater or blanket instead.
- Not use air conditioning or use it less. Closing curtains to prevent the sun from shining in can have a substantial cooling effect.
- Using no–till no–till gardening. Modern soil management practices release CO2 from the soil, while no–dig methods turn soil into a carbon sink.
- Replace old appliances, lightbulbs, transportation, etc. with more efficient models.
- Get rid of “heat leaks”, like tiny gaps under doors, around doorknobs, etc. By blocking these you’ll keep more heat in your house, thereby needing to use less energy to heat it.
- Get rid of “vampire power.” These are things like remote-controlled appliances. When a remote–controlled appliances is “off”, it still draws power to maintain standby mode, so it can detect any on signal. The only way to get rid of this “vampire power” is to unplug them.
Several of these things are good for reasons other than climate change. By walking more, you’ll be physically fit and healthier. If put on a sweater rather than turning up the heat, you’ll save money. Ditto for heat leaks.