I'm a Greens voter. I take climate change very seriously. And I think this Earth Hour was laughably useless. What does it achieve? Less than nothing. In the first place, the power is still being generated, and it is roughly equivalent to the uselessness of petrol boycotts - so you don't buy petrol today; you'll buy it tomorrow and no significant reduction of consumption is achieved. In the second place, and what I think is quite damaging to the entire campaign against climate change, is that it cons people into thinking they have contributed somehow to saving the Earth and that they've done their part for the year when, quite frankly, they haven't. It's the Live Aid syndrome. Live Aid was a great feel-good moment, people felt like they did something to fix Africa's problems ... and it didn't make a dent. Over 20 years later, the problem's still with us. Welcome to Earth Hour, folks. A whole bunch of people around the world think they're doing something great to help the environment and have meaningfully reduced their energy consumption. "I've done my part!" And then they just go back to business as usual. Nothing changes, and twenty years down the road, the problem will still be with us.
The point that should and must be emphasised is the need for permanent change. A feel-good act for an hour does nothing to change long term energy usage patterns or demand. I make a point of minimising my energy usage, which is primarily to keep my power bill down since finances are tight, and it happens to have the happy benefit of permanently keeping my energy consumption low. That is the kind of change that should be encouraged - and of course it's much harder to convince people to make lifestyle changes rather than partaking in feel-good acts, but the simple fact of the matter is that we need lifestyle changes, proactive political leadership on the matter, and more intelligent, considered energy consumption. Earth Hour does not achieve this in any way, shape, or form, and whatever positive educational aspects it may have are negated by the fact it is deluding a large amount of people into thinking they're making a difference. Sure, maybe a few people will be inspired to make long term changes to their consumption, and I'm not going to say that isn't great - it is. But this doesn't even qualify as a start in the grand scheme of things. The environmental benefit is, at best, negligible. At worst, it is counter-productive and delusional. Addressing climate change isn't easy, and people shouldn't be suckered into thinking it can be easy by gimmicky feel-good events.