Earth hour will kill us all! 3 – Entertainment

What should you do this earth hour? You can’t watch TV, or read this blog, that would use electricity. You can’t work on the car by candlelight, you might cause a nasty explosion. So here are a few suggestions:

Don’t go to a concert. There is an “Earth Hour Unplugged” concert in Christchurch, there are probably other events on elsewhere. But to get there you’d probably use a car, or a bus. That one trip could melt a glacier. And they’ll probably have big amplifiers using thousands of watts of coal-fired electricity. And as you switched off the burglar alarm to save electricity, and everyone’s lights are off so criminals can easily work undetected. you may get home and find your furniture has disappeared.

Only go to a concert if your sole purpose is to switch off the amplifiers for the sake of the planet so everyone can sit in perfect silence straining their ears to hear the peaceful twanging of the electric guitar strings. Otherwise stay at home.

But what to do at home? You can’t read a book, or play a board game, you’d need to light candles for that, and that could cause immense ecological destruction. You could play “blind mans bluff” in the dark, but may trip over and break all the furniture you stayed home to protect. Or break an arm, requiring the consumption of toxic petrol to take you to the hospital.

No, you’ll just have to go to bed early. But DON’T be tempted to curl up under the covers in your cold unheated bedroom and snuggle with the wife. Population growth will destroy the planet. Keep your hand-knitted hemp underpants on.

To be safe, one of you had better sleep on the couch.

Lie in the cold, dark lounge, on the couch, listening to the hum of the fridge (which you should have left turned on) and contemplate that:

“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialised civilisations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” – Maurice Strong, founder of the United Nations Environment Programme. (via Micky’s Muses)

Get used to sleeping in the cold and the dark, it sounds like this won’t be the first night. And then one day, as you cough yourself to death from smoke inhalation (candles), hypothermia and botulism (you did turn the fridge off after all, didn’t you?), at the age of 40, with no children to remember your name, you may feel glad that at least by your sacrifice you may have saved the life of a snail, somewhere. Possibly.

See also:
Earth hour will kill us all! 1 – Lighting
Earth hour will kill us all! 2 – Appliances

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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

EDIT 1:
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.

EDIT 2:
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.