What Will You Do Beyond Earth Hour?

Earth Hour is going one step further in 2011 with its “Beyond the Hour” campaign.  What’s this about?  It’s about going one step further.   First you show your commitment to the planet by turning off your lights, TV etc. for an hour, starting at 8:30 pm on Saturday, March 26.  Next, you pledge to an action or project, big or small, that will sustain our planet’s health and resources.

There are many places to find inspiration, such as:

-The beyondthehour pledge page (hover over the squares to see pledges),

-The global website  and the Earth Hour Canada websites—look for personal projects or organize an action at your work, school, or community group

– The Youtube video below or go to the Youtube Earth Hour site and watch the longer 8-minute video with many clips of people describing their actions.

Whatever you do, don’t be intimidated by the “high-profile” initiatives–small changes made by individuals have an impact.  For example, my pledges are modest— even one would have been sufficient but these are changes I want to make:

  • conserve more water, for example, by using bath water in the garden,
  • use more energy-efficient light bulbs, and
  • check car tire pressure regularly to reduce fuel consumption.

My inspiration came from a list posted by Earth Hour ambassador, Miranda Kerr.  Here is my paraphrase of items on her list—if the list isn’t useful for you, please scroll down and check out the Youtube video!

  • Buy local produce to reduce carbon emissions from transportation
  • Walk, cycle, or use public transit whenever possible
  • Keep tires inflated at the correct level to minimize fuel consumption
  • Turn off the lights when not in use
  • Unplug computers, TVs, and other electronics when not in use
  • Use less heat in winter and less air conditioning in summer
  • Use chemical-free cleaning products
  • Use cold water instead of hot whenever possible
  • Recycle
  • Use bath water to water garden plants
  • Avoid packaging when possible; choose packaging that can be recycled
  • Purchase clothing that is “ethically made, not mass produced”
  • Use water-saving shower nozzles and low-flush toilets
  • Compost
  • Avoid wasting food
  • Have shorter showers
  • Convert to energy-efficient light bulbs

14 thoughts on “What Will You Do Beyond Earth Hour?

    1. Thanks Roger for bringing to my attention the debate you have had with another blogger, “denisedthornton”, who I gather is a scientist. My understanding is that you are concerned that we are being told to reduce carbon emissions based on an unproven theory that mankind is creating climate change. I am satisfied that our contribution to climate change has been sufficiently researched—I trust and rely on those who have spent years studying the matter. I also feel that the changes that have to be made globally are not only about climate change, but also other issues, such as non-renewable resources becoming scarce, energy sources that pollute, dying ecosystems, and starving communities.

      I agree that there needs to be a “mighty movement supported by government policies”. In the meantime each of us as individuals can only do what we can…I’d like to have an electric or hybrid vehicle, but I can’t afford one so I just try to cut back driving when possible (for example). The future is uncertain whatever course we take. I believe you are concerned that proposed changes will cause an economic catastrophe. I feel the risks of not changing our way of life are greater than reducing carbon emissions and converting to clean energy sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal power.

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  1. Dear Ontheland,

    I notice that you have not seen fit to publish my comment.

    I assure you that none of it is lies and I can back up all of it with authorative references or explanations of the logic.

    Perhaps it conflicts with your beliefs?

    Then there is even more reason to publish it and formulate a reply.
    I too have my beliefs, but do you know, if facts emerge that show me I am believing something that is false, I am always prepared to update what I believe, even if it is to the point of believing that something is not even sure one way or the other.

    Anyway, I have another blog, a sort of informal study in which I ask people to justify their beliefs. http://www.globalwarmingsupporter.wordpress.com
    My readers and subscribers follow it closely.
    I have to add, a non answer scores very lowly in my opinion and theirs. Considering the consequences of what you, and everyone else believe, are one way or the other going to effect us all very profoundly, it is important that we are all rational about these things.

    Cheers

    Roger

    http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

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    1. Roger,
      I gather from your comment (over 800 words) that you are very skeptical about the theory that human activities contribute to climate change. I am sure that there are many other people such as yourself. I thank you for making me more aware of this issue. You have not shaken my conviction that we need to take proactive steps to make changes that both promote social justice and environmental protection. However I want to be better able to respond to the questions that you present. The thoughtful responses of another blogger did not shake your position, so I have no reason to believe that at this time I can present anything useful to you. When I am ready I will be writing a blog addressing the climate change controversy. I am sorry, but I will not be publishing your full comment as I feel a statement of that length would be best presented on your blogsite.
      all the best, Janice.

      Like

      1. Janice,

        Thanks for your reply.
        “…you are very skeptical about the theory that human activities contribute to climate change”
        Correct, as I am about all theories, but especially ones that will, if acted upon, do terrible things to society, my family and children.

        I do not have deep convictions on any thing because I feel that such things amount to “faith” and I define “faith” as “believing in something in spite of having insufficient facts to justify that belief or in spite of demonstrable facts that contradict that belief.
        I am always open to new facts and provided they are verified as such, I am not ashamed to alter my beliefs accordingly.

        “However I want to be better able to respond to the questions that you present.”
        This is good. I wish you well in your studies. Be sure to verify all facts.

        “The thoughtful responses of another blogger did not shake your position, so I have no reason to believe that at this time I can present anything useful to you.”
        Which blogger was that?

        I trust you will feel confident in replying in the near future.

        Cheers

        Roger

        http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

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      2. Hi Roger, I will keep all of your comments in mind when I do my further research, keeping in my mind that my background is social sciences, not biology etc. (what is yours, if you care to say?) We may encounter some philosophical discussions as to what is “fact” or what level of proof is sufficient…In the meantime I wonder if you would briefly clarify what actions or events you see or foresee occurring because of the human-caused climate change theory–ie the ones that you see as only brought about by this theory and that will cause harm. Are you aware of the World Wildlife Fund International Energy Report? This is a document I hope to find the time to read soon–perhaps you would find it of interest?
        Janice

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  2. PS.
    “You have not shaken my conviction that we need to take proactive steps to make changes that both promote social justice and environmental protection”

    Janice,
    I am in absolute agreement and support of these things, it is just that adherence or belief the “Anthropogenic CO2 Causes Global Warming” hypothesis is most certainly not to going to assist in social justice and it is difficult to see how it has anything to do with the improving the problems we currently have with our environment.
    Please include these issues in your studies.

    Cheers

    Roger

    Like

    1. Hi Roger,
      Burning coal creates air pollution, which leads to breathing problems and illnesses, as well as increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. Burning non-renewable natural gases cannot go on forever, whether or not these practices promote climate change.
      There have been recent reports that climate change will and is already hitting countries closest to the equator the hardest—as temperatures increase it will be even harder for people in these areas to grow food–the implication is that though the bulk of climate change is said to be generated by the developed countries it is hitting less developed ones the hardest (see http://news.discovery.com/earth/mapping-human-vulnerability-to-climate-change.html)
      There is another document on my reading list put out by the UN environmental program: “Towards a Green Economy Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication” at http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=659&ArticleID=6902&l=en&t=long
      Global and local poverty issues need to be addressed and are intertwined with environmental issues. Thanks for your comment–hope this clarifies somewhat where I’m coming from.
      Janice

      Like

      1. Janice,
        “Burning coal creates air pollution, which leads to breathing problems and illnesses, as well as increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. ”

        Coal indeed produces particulates and some gases that should be regarded as toxic.

        However should CO2 (which is of course also emitted) be also classified as a pollutant?

        You do realise that CO2 is essential to all life on earth?
        Here are some facts which may be of interest.

        A scientist untainted by the AGW lobby would say that a concentration of about 1000ppmv would be beneficial to life on earth, this being the concentration that Glass House growers prefer, http://api.ning.com/files/X-APctmkiwvgEI5fT6iiGjWFvKNX*cWuzeO4qmDVbgA_/Greenhouses.CarbonDioxideInGreenhouses.pdf
        Our exhaled breath is about 4500ppmv http://www.biotopics.co.uk/humans/inhaledexhaled.html
        Up to 5000ppmv is acceptable for work places (American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.).
        Up to 3000ppmv for residences (Canadian exposure guideline for residential buildings)”
        Medical oxygen has between 10,000 ppmv and 20,000 ppmv in it.
        http://www.bocsds.com/uk/sds/medical/10_carbondioxide_oxygen.pdf
        http://www.bocsds.com/uk/sds/medical/10_carbondioxide_oxygen.pdf

        Currently our atmosphere has about 380 ppmv in it.

        “Burning non-renewable natural gases cannot go on forever, whether or not these practices promote climate change.”

        It is true that there is a limited fossil fuel supply and over time scarcity must make the price rise and if we wish to retain our mode of civilisation we need to find some way of coping with this. However, TIME is the key word.

        There are various estimates of the time left until fossil fuels run out, and I take a fairly jaundiced view of the estimates having been through two “oil shocks” in the ”70′s and ’80′s where we were told that it was running out already.

        However the current estimates are about 40 years for oil, 62 years for natural gas and 224 years for coal. http://energysavingnow.com/energytoday/reserves.shtml

        If governments did nothing, and unfortunately governments have a way of exacerbating economic problems, (try reading Milton Freidman if you think that is too radical a statement), the price of fuel will rise steadily and I suspect converting coal to liquid fuel and gas will still be less expensive than any green technologies so far mooted, so the price will most likely rise and level out once this process becomes viable. (NB every rise in oil is currently reflected in just about every activity and product we consume)

        So we have at least 100 years to adjust to the rising price of energy.

        This is not to say that there will be no hardship or radical change in our civilisation.

        If the IPCC and governments have their way we have less than 20 years to curtail most fossil fuel usage. That gives us the scenario in my unpublished comment above which is a terrible threat to us and our children and which I urge you to read carefully.

        Climate change is happening, the question is whether it is our fault and is there anything we can do about it. Hence it all boils down to this proof thing.
        Ironically though, warmer weather is not the cause of droughts, cooler weather is the more likely culprit. Did you know the Sahara used to be fertile during the Holocene Maximum when temperatures were considerably higher than present? http://www.jstor.org/pss/2997337

        Sorry my replies are so wordy, but these are deep questions that you have asked. I think you will agree that we are being fed so much disinformation with regard to climate change, that we need to approach each assertion with some degree of scepticism.
        However as an economist, I believe the most pressing danger is from the repercussions of the IPCC demands.

        Cheers

        Roger

        http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

        Like

      2. Hello Roger,
        As you probably know, the issue with climate change is not that there is carbon in the atmosphere, the problem is that the natural carbon cycle has been upset and that the atmosphere is becoming like a blanket, holding in the heat–other cycles such as the nitrogen cycle are also disrupted. I can’t address your numbers–but trust me I hope to eventually. In the meantime I continue to trust in the integrity of thousands of scientists. This blog by Dr. David Suzuki describes the high level of consensus in the scientific community–see Climate Change Deniers @ http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/climate-change/science/climate-change-basics/climate-change-deniers/index.php.—-I thank you for your input, as it will be inspiration for further research—however overall I am convinced this is not the time to deny, but to participate in a green revolution–as a economist you may be able to make positive contributions into how to transition in the fairest way possible–ie to while preventing hardship for the poorest in our societies in both industrialized and developing countries.
        Janice

        Like

  3. Janice,

    Thank you once again for your reply.

    My training is in economics.
    Therefore I tend to look at most things in these terms.

    I hasten to add, that this has nothing much to do with money, it leans more to understanding how economies work, how vulnerable they really are and identifying events which are likely to damage and/or destroy economies. In other words translates to recognising situations or policies which effect economies and whether people will live normal lives or starve.

    “In the meantime I wonder if you would briefly clarify what actions or events you see or foresee occurring because of the human-caused climate change theory–ie the ones that you see as only brought about by this theory and that will cause harm”

    I outlined the effect on normal people which will result from the scenario which the IPCC is trying to create, in the comment you have declined to publish. Please take the time to read it again perhaps.
    Please understand that I am saying there that the IPCC, if it has its way, will starve us all.
    The other point I am making, is that the whole reporting of the IPCC and its associated contributors does not even meet the rules that scientists set for themselves regarding testing their hypothesis’ for scientific proof. I am not the only one to think so. For Example:
    http://nzclimatescience.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=155&Itemid=1

    I have had a look at the WWF report you mention.

    I think it contains very little analysis on the effects of what they propose on normal people like you and me.
    Pg 66 – 67 to me is a thinly veiled description of how we are expected to descend into poverty. This means that less wealthy people will descend into starvation and extreme poverty. At least that possiblity does not seem to be taken into account.
    The word “economy” does not appear in a search of the whole report.
    Equally disquieting are some quotations attributed to some of the more prominent figures associated with WWF. D. Rockefeller http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClqUcScwnn8&feature=related
    Or their report to the Australian Government. http://www.environment.gov.au/sustainability/population/consultation/submissions/0068.pdf

    Trust this comment is short enough to meet your approval.

    Cheers

    Roger

    PS Some well known Quotes:
    Instead of controlling the environment for the benefit of the population, maybe we should control the population to ensure the survival of our environment.
    — Sir David Attenborough
    “If I were reincarnated I would wish to be returned to earth
    as a killer virus to lower human population levels.”
    – Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,
    patron of the World Wildlife Fund

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    1. Thanks for your reflections. I have nothing more to add at this time–other than that poverty and hardship is a concern in our current world– in both industrialized and developing countries–and definitely I agree that as any changes are made the interests of the most vulnerable need to be protected. Janice

      Like

  4. Janice,

    Thanks for your answer.

    I am not trying to convert you to any belief, however I see that you are following blindly what people are telling you without putting that brain of yours to work.

    I hope my comments have at least stimulated you to look and reason for yourself.

    All the figures I have quoted are from varifiable resources, and my logic is clearly exposed.
    I hope also that you will realise that because everyone is human, there are hidden agenda in almost everyone’s writings.

    You are correct in that we need to protect the interests of the vulnerable in our society, the question is, is the road we are contemplating going down going to acheive that?

    I wonder why you still refuse to publish all of my comments though.

    Cheers

    Roger

    http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

    Like

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