I’m : a programmer, writer, podcaster, geek, and coffee enthusiast.

Katie Schenk:

Marco, I think you might be the one who missed the point. Earth Hour isn’t really about the watts not being used for an hour one night out of the year. Turning off your lights was a “vote for Earth”. From their website:

For the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming. WWF are urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion votes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009.

By us turning out our lights, it shows we support this cause and that the world wants to take action against global warming. You’re right, the watts not used during that hour across the globe won’t make much of a difference in the long run, but the symbolism of everyone particpating will.

Maybe I just expected more. The best way to show your support for this cause is to actually take action. Telling a bunch of casual environmentalists that you agree with them (when it’s convenient) isn’t incredibly powerful.

It’s easy to say, “Yes, I support the environment! Global warming is bad!”

But what does that accomplish, really? It’s far more effective to vote with your actions and your dollars.

Use mass-transit or your feet to get to work. If you can’t, move so you can. If you can’t afford a place as big as your current one, make do with less. Maybe you don’t need a giant house. You may have to give up your dream of having a separate room for your books.

(I know that most New Yorkers are already good at this sort of thing. We’re the exception. If more of the country’s metro-area population used mass transit as much and maintained as efficient density as New Yorkers, we’d be far better off.)

It doesn’t stop there. Use less of everything. Eat a lot less meat. Dispose of less waste. Opt into clean energy sources from your electric company, even though it costs twice as much. Buy local. Tolerate a wider temperature range in your home — use less heat and air conditioning. Go without non-essentials. Say “no” to yourself more often.

It’s inconvenient. It’s less luxurious. It’s more expensive. It’s more time-consuming. We can’t have the same lifestyles as before if we actually want noticeable change. A lot of people are willing to say they support something, but when it comes down to taking action, the numbers dwindle quickly.