Sunday, March 30, 2008

3-30-08: Earth Hour

I heard about this movement called Earth Hour yesterday. Apparently it happened yesterday, as well. How's that for advertising?

There are two things about this whole deal that I'd just like to mention. One is funny, the other is more serious.

The serious element is that Earth Hour is supposed to bring awareness to climate change by having people shut off their lights for an hour. Which would assume that turning off the lights would mean people would be using less energy which would somehow stop the power companies from producing as much and burning fossil fuels and releasing carbon dioxide into the air.

I've made mention on this blog a few times that I am skeptical about this whole "reduce C02" movement. I just don't see how it's worth all the lost economical potential to reduce something that, according to a substantial number of climatologists, is probably not the source of global warming. I didn't participate in this whole movement. It's mostly because I didn't hear about it until after the fact, but I doubt I'd have done anything about it. If you want to be made aware of something, how about listening to both sides? You can't simply shut out one side of the argument because you think they're corrupt or because you think they're just lying to get attention. If that were even true, how is that any different than being ignorant and blindly following a movement? Pointing out all the science "on your side" does not prove anything.

This is not to say that I don't think Earth Hour is completely useless. If given the right context, I would probably observe it. Let's say it's in awareness of our rising energy costs or reliance on oil. I can buy into that. It's not for climate change, it's to simply reduce our use of energy so we don't run out. That's something I can follow, but it's completely separate from all the bogus hype of man-made global warming.

This all reminds me of a course I took about a year ago. It was a "Senior Seminar" and it was basically a bunch of discussions on various topics about the business environment. Somehow it was strung together as a class. I'm not sure how; I got a B. But one class was particularly good. A guy came in who had many years of industry experience at Xerox. He just sat down with us and talked about whatever. It was a really interesting class. He started us off talking about global warming. It was amazing to see what college seniors had to say on the topic. Some had almost no idea what the debate was about. They thought "Hey, I don't want to live underwater some day." Others just said "It has to be man-made; what else could it be?" All of these students, when asked, admitted they had done basically no research on their own. Myself and two others had done some reading on the topic. One girl said she was skeptical and believed it was probably a natural warming cycle. Another guy thought it was all being blown out of proportion and didn't believe and couldn't understand a lot of the science. I cited a few videos and articles I read and mentioned how it could all be due to the sun-spot cycle. The guy simply said at the end that he was just interested in seeing how we formed our arguments. He ended with: "Did you know they used to grow grapes in Greenland?" Interesting guy.

The second, and funnier, part of the whole Earth Hour ordeal is that a bunch of pubs in Ireland and Britain didn't participate in the hour-long shut-off. Not out of protest. They just didn't want patrons to fall and break their glasses or burn themselves on candles. You can't make this shit up. I hope some one puts that into an ad or something. "Don't get burned by the hype." Brilliant!

No comments: