Last night, as people shut down their lights to participate in Earth Hour, Torontonians saved about 434 megawatts of power. That is a significant statement toward our concern about climate change. Of course, the event could not go by without debate. There tends to be three camps with respect to opinion on Earth Hour.
The first camp is full of participants that shut off their lights as a sign of concern and unity. A strong statement from a huge collective of people that together voiced their concern over the damage to the planet that we have been wreaking for the past 200 years or so. It is a message to all that can hear: "I care, and I'm willing to act on it."
The second camp of folk are the ones that shut off their lights for an hour, then pat themselves on the back for a job well done and continue with business as usual. They have missed the point of the exercise. One hour with the lights out changes very little. The idea is to show that it can be done, and to encourage you to act everyday. Addressing this problem doesn't mean a change for an hour; it means a change for life.
The third group of people are the ones that chose not to participate. Some of them are in denial about climate change, refusing to accept the tremendous amount of evidence before them. Others look at the second group above, and think that an hour won't change a thing, so there's no point in trying. To those, I say your are dreadfully wrong. It is always worth the effort, always worth the attempt, and always worth the concern. One hour doesn't solve the crisis, but it can be a catalyst to something that does. When that many speak up together, when that mass of people declare in one voice "I care", others will listen. When that voice grows, even more will listen. Business leaders, political leaders, and people leaders; they all will start to listen. And if that voice is followed by action, then listeners will act as well.
434 megawatts won't save the world. But 434 megawatts in every city on every night? That will.