If Earth Day Is Too Much To Handle, Just Turn Off The Lights For Earth Hour Tomorrow

We know, you’re too addicted to keeping your phone/tablet/laptop charged to go for an entire day without using any electricity, but how about for just 60 minutes during Earth Hour tomorrow? Come on, you can do it. We believe in you, and the world will be ever so grateful.

Over at Consumer Reports, they’re all about tomorrow’s lights-out hour, which starts at 8:30 p.m. ET. Earth Hour was started in Australia in 2007, and by last year more than two billion people in 5,200 cities and towns in 135 countries had joined in and switched off.

The event is designed to call attention to climate change, and is sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund. The good news is a new Harris poll says most Americans do turn off the lights, TV or other appliances when they’re not using them. And half replace incandescent bulbs with fluorescent ones, use power strips and look for Energy Star appliances, among other things.

As it gets more expensive to save energy, however, people start making less of an effort — for example, installing a programmable thermostat, sealing gaps in floors and walls or adding extra insulation.

So since this is like, the easiest possible thing to do, no problem, right? Right.

Earth Hour imagines a planet temporarily unplugged [Consumer Reports]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Ecks says:

    I won’t be participating.

  2. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    awesome pic

  3. alexhohio says:

    Seriously? Another empty gesture.

    • MMD says:

      Suggest an alternative, then.

      • tooluser says:

        One does not have to suggest alternatives to nonsense. One must merely denigrate such ideas to their rightful place in the dustbin of history. No participation in such foolish acts shall be remembered, venerated, or make any difference whatsoever.

  4. Tiltingright says:

    I will be turning all the lights on and have my home theater blazing during this event. I am a consumerist

    • Jay911 says:

      I think it’ll be time to run both my vehicles at high idle, mow the lawn, and run the generator – even though I’ll be powering everything in my house from the regular service.

      The only “call to attention” needed about climate change is that humans don’t have an appreciable effect on it.

      • jebarringer says:

        “The only “call to attention” needed about climate change is that humans don’t have an appreciable effect on it.”
        You do know that humans have had an appreciable effect on the climate ever since slash and burn agriculture took off, right? No wait, nevermind, facts have no place in your worldview.

        • cspschofield says:

          That’s certainly true. Native Americans (for example) hunted at least two and possibly four herd species to extinction before Europeans ever set foot in this hemisphere. But Human generated Global Warming is almost certainly a scam. There has been no warming trend for the last 15 years, and solar activity is a much more reliable predictor of global temperatures than any atmospheric gas.

          If certain predictions are right, in fact, we may shortly be wishing for some human-generated Global Warming. There are reputable people who are predicting a “little ice age” lasting until about 2050.

          • MMD says:

            I dare you to cite credible information to support your claims.

            • tooluser says:

              I dare you to fart in public.

            • cspschofield says:

              Do you seriously still believe in this Western Intellectual phantasm? After the tactics exposed in the IPCC’s emails?

              Isn’t that kind of like believing in the immaculate conception of Political Activists?

      • eigenvector says:

        Just like humans have no appreciable effect on the environment in general? /s

        Whether global warming is somewhat our fault or not ours at all is _completely_f’ing _irrelevant_. This raises awareness about not wasting resources that won’t last forever and taking care of the place where we live.

        To acknowledge that we are doing something reckless would go against our human nature of absolving ourselves of any inconvenient responsibility for what we do and being selfish to our individual needs at this very moment in time.

      • cigsm says:

        LOL really? Because about 95% of climate scientists strongly disagree with you.

        And they have dedicated their life to, you know, STUDYING CLIMATES.

  5. sgmax2 says:

    Not wanting to be outdone, I see that Fox News are sponsoring Conspicuous Consumption hour (http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/03/30/let-there-be-light-human-achievement-hour-to-coincide-with-earth-hour/).

    • George4478 says:

      If you see that then you need glasses since they aren’t sponsoring anything of the sort. FoxNews is REPORTING on Competitive Enterprise Institute’s “Human Achievement Hour”.

      The Scitech page headline: Let there be light: ‘Human Achievement Hour’ to coincide with Earth Hour
      The main page header/link: It’s Light vs. Darkness in Climate-Change Faceoff

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        In the mind of the liberal, reporting on something that counters a lib cause is the same as sponsoring and promoting it. That is, if it can’t be further defined as bigotry, hatred or racism.

        • winstonthorne says:

          Taken to its logical extreme, this philosophy implies that sgmax2 is also sponsoring the event.

    • atthec44 says:

      I saw this earlier today and will be happy to participate.

  6. alexwade says:

    The Final Four is on during “earth hour”. There ain’t no way I’m turning off my lights and TV even though my team lost in the Elite 8.

  7. Vox Republica says:

    Really don’t understand the people (here and elsewhere) caterwauling about how this is either an empty gesture or some other objectionable thing. Let me summarize why this is an appreciable thing using my own personal maths:

    I’m out of the apartment, and thus turn and keep off my lights/appliances/Ferris wheel/etc., 10 and a half hours a day between work and commuting. I spend another 7 hours asleep, where my electricity usage is nominal (clock radio and company). If I cut the cord(s) for the 6 and a half hours I’m home and awake, that’s a 15% cut in my above-baseline energy consumption. That can be expressed in joules, kilowatt-hours, watts, however else you want‚Äîthe point is that it’s energy that’s *not* being consumed. I’m a.) saving money (smart) and b.) driving down aggregate demand, which in turn results in lower prices (also smart). If a lot of people voluntarily cut power consumption for X minutes a day, the multiplicative effects of that decrease in demand can affect serious changes.

    Of course, then you get contrarian brain cells giggling to themselves as they buy lamps and incandescent bulbs just to be their contrarian brain cell selves in the same breath. “Tee hee!” they giggle to themselves. “Now I’m going to buy a shirt that says PETA stands for People Eating Tasty Animals! What a card I am!”

    • Shadowfire says:

      That electricity is still being produced, but instead of being used for electrical devices it is simply produced and not used. Exactly the same amount of carbon is emitted whether those light switches are on or off.

      So yes, it is an empty gesture.

      • Vox Republica says:

        I don’t mean this in a condescending manner, but do you believe that electricity production would stay constant if people consumed appreciably less energy on a day-to-day basis?

        • Shadowfire says:

          Of course not. Apples to oranges, though. “I’ll turn off my lights for an hour” is akin to the Kony2012 bullshit. People being activists without any real commitment.

      • tooluser says:

        Exactly. It gets dissipated as heat at the plant, contributing to global warming, with no other value added, as it would have if it were used for lights and computers and things.

        So worse than senseless, really.

      • alexwade says:

        Technically it is carbon dioxide and not carbon. The activists began using carbon because CO2 doesn’t sound dirty.

        Also, not all electricity comes from coal or natural gas. My electricity comes from nuclear.

        • kc2idf says:

          Yeah, you are probably right. CO2 doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily, either. That said, any fuel that is consumed by combustion (as opposed to a nuclear process) and contains carbon, results in the emission of CO2. As such, it’s not purely incorrect . . . it is, however a semantic shortcut and could potentially lead to a misunderstanding, so I think your point is well taken.

          …and my electricity is from wind and run-of-river hydro.

      • kc2idf says:

        That is actually not correct.

        The grid responds to changes in the amount of load by altering, in real-time, the amount of electricity being produced. If this were not the case, then the resultant overproduction would result in an increase in the rotational speed of all of the generators online, which would then manifest as a bump up in the AC frequency.

        Example: there was a discernible uptick in the AC frequency all the way down in Tennessee when the load dropped out in the 2003 Northeast blackout.

        This effect is the result of the simple fact that a given generator creates an amount of mechanical drag that is proportional to the load that generator is serving.

        Large control centres exist for the purpose of monitoring this balance between load and generation. From these control centres, generators are instructed to ramp up or down their output; generators are put on-line or taken off-line, and reserve generation (generators that can come on-line quickly in case of unexpected uptick in demand) are scheduled to stand by.

        I won’t name my employer, because I am not speaking for them, but I will tell you that I work in the electric industry, and that a little detective work will reveal my employer if you really want to know.

    • Cerne says:

      Turning your lights off for an hour a year in no way reduces demand.

    • alexwade says:

      If you really want to understand the purpose of this earth hour, and why I won’t participate even if the Final Four wasn’t on, then this quote by the UN’s Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon will explain why: “We do so in solidarity with the men, women and children, 20% of all humankind, who live with no access to electricity.” In other words, to bring us down to the level of the poorest. I do not subscribe to this idea. I believe the poor should be brought up to our level and not that we should be forced down to their level.

  8. Hi_Hello says:

    earth, what now? tomorrow I’ll be biking… for a few hours.. in the middle of the woods somewhere. Afterward, I’m going burn some stuff so I can cook some meat. Then I’ll help back home for a shower and tv.

    who needs to turn on their lights during the day anyway 0-o?

  9. SScorpio says:

    Screw that I already did my part when the final normal incandescent bulb in my office burned out two weeks ago. I’ve moved from having 6x 55W bulbs to six LED bulbs that use 7.5W so even less than those horrible fluorescent bulbs and these give much better brighter light and don’t flicker.

    I also lived without power in the one January night where it was 20F outside for three hours in the middle of the evening when it was pitch black this year already when the buggy man climate change created a wind storm that knocked out power to my area. That event alone saved more power than this one hour thing is likely to do.

    • Skeptic says:

      Three hours at 20 F??? Ooooh, you so brave!

      Try 36 hours with no power at 0 F, with only four hours of daylight, as happened here last December.

  10. Cerne says:

    Earth hour is a pointless event that does exactly nothing to help the environment. And I sincerily doubt that 1 in 3 people went without power voluntarily last year.

    If you want to live a third world life style for an hour go ahead, but know that you accomplished nothing.

  11. Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

    Just be responsible every single day of every year. Does one hour a year of turning the lights off equate to all the other times you’ve left it on even when you’re not using it?

    Maybe it’s a symbolic gesture. But, IMO it’s ‘meh’.

  12. jrwn says:

    And as we save more energy, the electricity companies get less money. They do have expenses to pay, so they have to raise their rates.

    See, there is a nice loop.

    • nybiker says:

      Yeah, that’s the thing that bugs me about all these ‘conserve’ acts. Whether it’s Con Ed (or any other ESCO), the water company, we the consumer are still going to get the shaft and not in a good way.

  13. Snoofin says:

    Ahhh, Earth day. The day I leave every light on in the house all day and night just to piss off all the environmental hippies as revenge for them pissing me off the rest of the year by paying off lawmakers to make laws that limit my choice of products I can buy and force me to buy “green” alternatives that dont perform as well as what they are replacing all the while telling me I should sacrifice just a little for the earth.

    Well I say screw environmental Nazis

    • tooluser says:

      Life is a continuing series of forced replacement of valued products and services with inferior substitutes. There is no longer any economic growth in the large scale, except that produced by an increase in population.

    • MMD says:

      Let me guess. You’re a libertarian.

      • shepd says:

        Me too! And my lights are going on for that day! Hell, maybe I’ll plug in some space heaters, too. And cook something ridiculously big in the oven. Best $10 I spend all year. It’d take about 500 houses to make up for the difference.

        The sad thing is that if environmentalists even knew how power plants worked, they’d realize that if they could make a dent in electricity consumption that mattered, doing it for only one hour a year would actually cause serious damage and possibly more environmental problems than they’d save.

        I’m not anti-environmentalist, you see. I’m pro-using-your-brain. Something that goes out the window when you get the big name environmentalists out there banning things.

        My whole house is already CFLs, has been for almost 10 years. Why? I’m cheap. No need to ban anything unless you don’t understand economics and physics.

        • shepd says:

          For those that think I’m full of horseshit, improperly balanced load is what caused the 2003 blackout (in that case a heavy consumer load ended up with a cascading failure–don’t be mistaken, a suddenly decreasing load can cause similar results, see 4:10:34 pm):


          This isn’t a portable generator you power some hand tools with. Things really do fuck up when you have them fully loaded and then suddenly turn off the load–plug some power tools in an outlet paralleled a lamp and see what happens, especially on a generator–imagine that several hundred times over.

          I should say, by caused the blackout, I’m talking about the multiple states and Ontario being blacked out, not the initial screwup in Ohio.

    • Total Casual says:

      Why does this make you people so upset? Just don’t turn stuff off if you don’t want to. I guess it feels good feeling like a victim.

  14. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    They’re starting the light’s out hour at 8:30 PM, when it’s dark outside. I’m not participating. At that hour, most of my house is illuminated by 4 watt bulbs in window candles, on timers. If I need extra light to read, I have a curly q bulb in my reading lamp.

    I’ve already cut way back on the # of kwh’s I use by doing other things. If I want to sit and maybe watch TV or enjoy surfing the internet on Saturday night, I’m doing it. Plus, it turned colder again here in central PA, and my oil furnace depends on electricity to run.

    If I wanted to sit around in a cold, dark house, reading a book by candlelight, I’d move back to the middle ages. For right now, I’m gonna use PPL’s electricity that they provide and I pay for.

  15. Lyn Torden says:

    Will The Consumerist.Com be shutting off their servers during that hour?

  16. shinseiromeo says:

    We know, you’re too addicted to keeping your phone/tablet/laptop charged to go for an entire day without using any electricity, but how about for just 60 minutes during Earth Hour tomorrow?

    So I should unplug my refrigerator, land line, clocks, stove, etc for Earth day…?

  17. tooluser says:

    Explain to me exactly the how world will show its gratitude to me.
    Thank you.

  18. Akula765 says:

    This is stupid, and it actually wastes more electricity with out saving any.

  19. Raider Duck says:

    I don’t plan to participate in any way at all.

    Turning off the lights would plunge my family into darkness for no good reason.

    Turning on extra lights would unnecessarily raise my electric bill.

    The whole thing is another useless bit of slacktivism. Consumerist really shouldn’t even be reporting on such nonsense.

  20. Hoss says:

    A lot of selfish, negative a-holes here.

  21. smo0 says:

    I’ll be doing this, I get off work at 830 pm pst!

  22. Skeptic says:

    Sunset won’t happen until almost 9:00 PM here at 61.5 degrees north, and twilight lasts another hour or so, so this shouldn’t be too much trouble for me and the other AK Skeptics!

  23. Get A Amberlance says:


  24. xanadustc says:

    Rather than trying to go extreme (like binge dieting), try just doing simple things every day! I am not an environmentalist wacko, but my electric bills are so low due only to my normal habits:
    1.) do not leave lights on all the time…duh
    2.) Replace light bulbs with high efficiency bulbs
    3.) unplug appliances that are not frequently used (about 40% of energy is used in ‘ghost power’…lights on appliances to simply announce….’I am not on’
    4.) Turn off clocks that you do not need….lets see, my remodeled kitchen has a stove and a microwave, both with a clock…I do not need two clocks in that one glance, so I turned off the display on one of them…

    See, rather than saying…’Gee, I am going to protest capitalist pigs with an event clearly aimed at tree hugging and binge-diet for a day…” try just living a life of good habit and you will be surprised at what you can do.

    For the record, my electric bill averages $35/mo for a house.

  25. Press1forDialTone says:

    If I was getting my electricity for free, I would participate in a heartbeat.
    But, I am already careful about my use of electricity and I pay for my use
    of same, so I’m already doing more than 95% of other residences. Electricity
    contributes to my quality of life, so you can see where I’m going. Moderation
    in and awareness of use is all you can do short of going off the grid.

  26. energynotsaved says:

    For the first earth day, I put a sticker on my car, drank too much, smoked too much, and did nothing. Has anything changes?

  27. prizgrizbiz says:

    I won’t be participating because I will be driving, keeping my lights on, and I hope other drivers will too. You’re welcome.

  28. eigenvector says:

    Why is everyone completely missing the point? This is an AWARENESS event, not an attempt to reverse the degradation of the environment with 1 hour of darkness.

    Jesus F. Christ, so many Americans eschew any idea of giving a shit about anything other than themselves, lest they be considered a hippie.

  29. JollyJumjuck says:

    I’m going to unplug my refrigerator for the day. My food will spoil, forcing me to spend more money to replace it, but at least I’ll save electricity!

  30. FLConsumer says:

    How about not?

    I use about 30% of the electricity that most people in my neighborhood use. Turning my lights off for one stinking hour is pointless. Just as pointless as driving a Prius. Looks good to the uneducated masses, but it’s worse for the environment than what we’ve always had.

  31. Redd7899 says:

    NASA knows that there will be one of the largest solar flares in history the end of this year or 2013. If this happens, our power would probably be down for weeks, or months before engineers can get things up and running again. If you can’t survive 1 hour without power, what will you do IF this Solar Flare does happen??? Months of no electricity, no cell phones, home phones, laptops, refrigerator, stove, etc. What about water? Do you know what to do in case this DOES HAPPEN? It doesn’t take long to educate yourself so you and your family are okay and survive. Think about all the people that won’t be prepared and what they will do to get food, water, etc. BE PREPARED…..it can’t hurt but it sure could save.