Earth Hour 2009: A Bust?
Earth Hour, an environmental proactive movement where people around the globe are encouraged to shut off lights and other electricity-consuming devices for one hour, didn't work out too well this year.
This year, the 3rd ever Earth Hour, and the 2nd ever in Ontario, was not nearly as well-promoted as 2008. And that may be one of the reasons there was actually a spike in energy useage, instead of a dip, between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Suz and I duplicated our trip from last year, taking our sweet hybrid car to a nice lookout point over the city, to see the vast darkness.
We were the only ones perched atop the city, staring down at the thousands below us. Street lights, of course, stayed on, but residential blocks were shrouded in shadows as, it seemed, most people turned off their lights, TVs, clock radios and dialysis machines.
But the view was disappointing. Earth Hour was a bust. Take, for example, this empty Tim Hortons. Once bustling with thousands of donut-craving customers a day, it has sat, abandoned and desolate for over a year. However, despite the lack of patrons, it was still fully lit inside, wasting precious energy every day, including during Earth Hour.
And www.ieso.ca confirms the disappointing news. Ontario witnessed a 400 megawatt spike of energy consumption during Earth Hour instead of last year's roughly 500 megawatt dip. Check out this graph from ieso.ca.
But wait. There is some good news. Comparing last year's energy useage to this year's one will notice that during the day as a whole, Ontario consumed far less energy in 2009. The daily high for 2008 was approximately 17,800 mw, while 2009's was 15,500 mw. And while Earth Hour 2008's energy useage was approximately 16,300 mw while 2009 jumped to 14,900 mw. Yes, even though energy consumption jumped upwards during a time we were supposed to be conserving energy, it was still 1,400 mw less than last year.