Earth hour will kill us all! 2 – Appliances

Despite the terrible hazards to the global environment of using candles this Saturday, no doubt some people will still choose to use them. If you still use candles, at least don’t switch off your fridge.

Your refridgerator, freezer, thermostat-controlled heater, or heat pump are designed to turn themselves on and off as they need to, to maintain a certain temperature. If you turn these appliances off during Earth Hour, they will consume no power then. But the freezer will slowly heat up over that hour, and your house will slowly cool down. When you switch them on after the hour they will all switch on at once and have to work extra hard to make up for the hour they were not able to run for. Total electricity consumption will be about the same, except it will all come in a peak when they are all turned back on.

The same goes for appliances with batteries (cellphones, laptop computers etc). They too will use more power after earth hour if you just switch the charger off at the wall for that hour.

You may choose not to use your washing machine during earth hour. But you still have the same amount of clothes to wash. Unless you do them by hand, you’ll just use more power after Earth Hour.

What does this mean for the electricity network? There will be a drop in power usage from 8:30 – 9:30pm on Saturday night. Then a peak afterwards when everything is switched on again. About the same amount of electricity will be used all up, unless the peak load blows another Auckland transformer.

But although much of NZ’s electricity generation is renewable, the peak loads are serviced by dirty polluting coal and gas (owned by thieving rich capitalists no doubt). So your freezer will be killing the polar bears as it refreezes all your thawed vegan tofu-burgers.

To quote the Lorax:

“I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues, and I’m asking you Sir, at the top of my lungs” – What are YOU doing this Earth Hour?

I implore you, on behalf of the trees, the bar-ba-loots, the swomee-swans, the humming-fish, the polar bears, and the thousands of cute and cuddly animals as yet undiscovered that we could be killing in ways we cannot yet imagine – do NOT turn your refridgerator off (or use candles) this Earth Hour.

See also:
Earth hour will kill us all! 1 – Lighting
Earth hour will kill us all! 3 – Entertainment

Earth hour will kill us all! 1 – Lighting

In this series I’m adopting the language used by the global warming enthusiasts in an attempt to communicate on level ground.

This Saturday, we’re supposed to turn off all our lights for an hour to “join [WWF] in taking a step towards living more sustainably”.

But what is the real effect on the environment of switching off our lights and burning candles instead?

Modern candles are generally made from parrafin wax – ie, oil. They burn inefficiently, putting out most of their energy as heat, while producing a little bit of light as well. On the other hand, most of New Zealand’s electricity generation is from renewable sources (hydro), so produces very low carbon emissions.

So what are you doing if you huddle over candles this Saturday?

  • Depending on how many candles & lights you use, you may actually increase your carbon emissions (unless you make your own candles from tallow of course (a renewable biofuel), so the die-hard hippies are ok. But they probably have earth hour every night anyway).
  • Inhaling smoke, damaging your lungs (again no change for the die-hard hippies if they’re on the weed anyway). Smoke inhalation is a major health problem in the third world, and is one of the reasons we use electric light.
  • Wasting money. Electricity is far cheaper than candles – because it is more efficient.
  • Damaging local industry, sending money to China. Electricity is made by Kiwis, for Kiwis. Most of our candles are made in China (check your packet). Buy NZ made – use electricity this Earth Hour.
  • Creating a fire hazard. Candles are a major source of house fires. This week it could be you.

I’m sure there are more problems I’ve missed. If you don’t want your cemetary to be flooded by rising seawater in a hundred years, Buy NZ Made this earth hour, and use electric lights.

See also: Earth hour will kill us all! 2 – Appliances
Earth hour will kill us all! 3 – Entertainment

Although the Fire Service suggests torches as safer than candles, they’re at least as bad for the environment. Batteries are toxic and take a large amount of energy to produce relative to the amount of light you get out of them. And they’re probably made in China too. Don’t go there.

Rather than candles or torches, it would be far more sustainable to use some of New Zealand’s clean, eco-friendly renewable electricity, crank out the outdoor Christmas lights, and join MandM’s Earth Hour protest.