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.
This election is going to be scarily close. It will actually be decided by the votes in several key electorates:
Voters wanting a change of government in these five electorates need to vote strategically. Even if you disagree with Act’s policies, but are in Epsom and want a change of government, Rodney Hide needs your vote. Even if you disagree with Family policies, but are in Mangere or ECB, Jerry Filipaina or Paul Adams needs your vote.
To keep NZ First out, as they will support Labour, Simon Bridges (National) needs your vote in Tauranga, and Christopher Hipkins (Labour) needs your vote in Rimutaka (as the other candidate with the best chance of taking it, the electorate is currently held by Labour) Richard Whiteside in Rimutaka. It doesn’t matter if you disagree with National’s or Labour’s polices – their total numbers will be decided by the party vote, even voting in a Labour candidate here will make no difference to Labour’s total numbers. But candidates make a massive difference to the minor parties.
On the other hand, if Labour voters go for Ron Mark in Rimutaka, that reduces Hipkins chances, and maybe it would be better to vote for the National candidate – this is like trying to play chess 8 moves ahead against 40,000 other players… I don’t like recommending voting against Ron Mark, he is a good man, but unfortunately they will only be siding with Labour this time so he is dragged down by the fact he is in NZ First. Very frustrating. If he jumped ship to National or stood as an independent I could recommend him.
I would also like to be able to recommend Larry Baldock in Tauranga, as a Christian candidate who won’t side with Labour, but ultimately keeping NZ First out will achieve more to change the government than getting Baldock in, and if National voters go for Baldock they risk letting Winston Peters take the electorate. If only Baldock was standing in a different electorate I would be able to recommend him too. But the reality is that Simon Bridges needs those votes more.
We must ensure National has as many friends as possible, and Labour has as few as possible, and that will take careful, strategic voting – and in some cases that may mean voting for someone whose policies you disagree with (such as in Rimutaka). That’s MMP for you.
EDIT: You may note some changes with regard to Rimutaka. This is after I received the following email from Richard Whiteside, the National candidate there, who obviously knows far more about the electorate than I: