Boston Goes Dark (Temporarily) For Earth Hour

Filed in Local Events by on March 27, 2010 0 Comments
Earth Hour Logo

Boston joined 4,000 other municipalities in shutting off lights to raise climate change awareness.

For one hour tonight, the Boston skyline went dark.

The sixty minute blackout was not unintentional, though, but rather part of a worldwide event called Earth Hour in which cities across the globe turned off nonessential lighting to raise awareness about climate change. Approximately 4,000 cities participated in this year’s event, flipping the proverbial switch at 8:30pm local time.

The Globe has an interesting series of fade-out photos of famous skylines as they dim.

Now, I like to think of myself as an eco-friendly guy. I bike everywhere, buy organic, locally grown food, and shudder at the thought of plastic bottles being tossed in the trash. I am that roommate who unplugs others’ computer charges when they aren’t in use to prevent them from wasting leeched electricity.

Yet this lights-out gesture, though well intentioned, feels too much like political gamesmanship to me. Mayor Menino, smooth salesman that he is, quickly touted Boston’s involvement as another way the city is leading the way in green initiatives. And while Boston certainly is a greener city than most—what else would you expect in our liberal New England enclave?—I’m left wondering why the event is limited to one hour.

If the goal is a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, why go black for such an minute duration? The event specifically calls for only nonessential lighting to be turned off. Nonessential lights, as in lights that are on solely for the purpose of show. They may be pretty, and they may define a city’s skyline or character, but ultimately they do nothing truly beneficial for the city. They just waste energy.

So why not turn the lights off every night for one hour? Two hours? Rather than just raising awareness about the impact of greenhouse gasses on climate change, why not do something outright to reduce energy consumption and thus greenhouse gas emissions?

The temporary blackout is certainly an admirable campaign, and one that I applaud and support. Now if only progressive municipal action could take precedence over the fanfare surrounding it.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

About the Author ()

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.