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Earth Hour 2011

March 27, 2011

flickr/ via WWF and Earth Hour Global

Yesterday at 8:30pm was Earth Hour! Did you turn out your lights? I am embarrassed to say that I was traveling and even more embarrassed to say that I had just gotten off a plane with my huge carbon footprint. But I hope you participated and joined a global movement to remind people that we need to think about our future.

One of the things that is easy to notice by air is the grid. It seems like almost every inch of the land I flew over yesterday was developed and covered in lights. Many of us take electricity for granted at this point: we’ve extended the length of our days far past sunset, we get frustrated when we cannot find an outlet to charge our smartphones and laptops, and we expect service to be uninterrupted.

But, a quarter of the world’s population does not have access to reliable electricity. And as we develop new technologies, plug-in cars, and give that quarter of the world a solid grid, we will need to grow our electricity production immensely. And whether we do that by burning more fossil fuels or integrating more renewable energy sources will be an important indicator of our future. So I think Earth Hour is an important event and a strong reminder of what it means to be connected to a grid that provides light every time we flip a switch.

If you were unable to participate last night (like myself), I suggest taking an hour or more at some point today and unplugging.

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