Earth Hour? We’ve all heard of Earth Day as it’s been around for about 40 years. But now, there is Earth Hour. This is brought to you by the WWF. Before you go looking for a picture of Hulk Hogan carrying the earth on his shoulders like Atlas, it’s not the World Wrestling Federation. Remember a few years ago the wrestlers were sued and so they had to change their name to World Wrestling Entertainment aka WWE. This would be the World Wildlife Fund and they are encouraging people from around the world to “…come together to make a bold statement about their concern for climate change…” They claim that millions of people will participate and illustrate their concern by turning off the lights for one hour. The time is to be March 27, 2010 at 8:30pm local time. That means that if everyone did it, an observer from space would see the lights go off sequentially from east to west around the globe. While it is a global effort, for some reason the United States is singled out and the Yanks are encouraged to show the way toward a “cleaner, more secure nation and prosperous America.”
This is not the first Earth Hour though as it was launched 3 years ago. The WWF claims that last year over 1 billion people participated in 87 countries from 7 continents involving over 4100 cities including 80 million Americans in 318 cities. This year, National Geographic is claiming 121 countries will participate. On the one hand, it is called a “simple” gesture because all one has to do is to hit the light switch. Yet, the WWF does direct you to a “tool kit” to elaborate on how to participate. This reminds of an Aggie Joke: How many Aggies does it take to turn off a light? What would be an event that is supposed to bring global civic awareness without having a promotional edge? You can buy “Earth Hour Gear” if you want to express yourself by more than just turning off the lights. I’m not sure if profit is the main motive behind this global effort but, like all good intentions, there can be unintended consequences.
Think about cigarettes. State governments across America are raising cigarette taxes under the notion that it will discourage smoking with higher prices. But, state budgets have become so reliant on revenue from the cigarette tax, if they were successful in their official motivation and everyone stopped smoking, then state government deficits would be such that sovereign state bankruptcy might be a real issue. In the case of Earth Hour, if everyone participates, there might be steep consequences. An official Earth Hour event in Thailand was cancelled due to safety concerns. A big crowd of people at night whom the bad guys know would be shrouded in darkness? Sounds pretty enticing or even inviting. But it apparently was a concern about “Red Shirt” demonstrators. Then there are technical issues. When you have a power grid designed for certain power load and their is a sudden change, that can tax the capability of that system. We normally think of power surges or excessive usage in a heat waver or something that disrupts the system. In this case, Earth Hour can cause complications from a sudden power drop off such that utlities have to take precautions to prevent the dark hour from becoming a dark night. But, in some parts of the states, it seems to me that the biggest obstacle may be the NCAA. Those guys went and scheduled the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament during Earth Hour! They should have checked the schedule. I can promise that, in Kentucky, when the University of Kentucky is playing in prime time for a shot at the Final Four, no one will turn off their TV and I doubt if any UK fans will be watching the game in the dark….after all…you need to make it safe for trips to the refrigerator or bathroom.
Weather Bottom Line: Snow White and I took advantage of the fact that the clouds were chased away ahead of my schedule and so we went and fed the ducks at Cave Hill Cemetery. It was such a nice day, Lee Squires left early and who can blame him? Several geese and swans are sitting on their eggs which may be hatched for Easter, but we didn’t see any mallards on their nest. I think that it’s because the mallards are too smart to put their nests where just anyone can find them. We did have a couple of errant snow reports early this morning but, as I had warned, it was not consequential. One thing that I did fail to mention was the howling wind overnight. At one point, I thought that it was raining hard but instead it was just a pressure equalization occuring in rapid fashion. It will be cool overnight and Saturday still looks to be outstanding with highs back in the mid to upper 60’s. With that kind of turn around, a cold front must be on the way…and it is.
Our timing will work out well again as during the heat of day, the storm system will be to our west. And, like the last system, this one will pass South. So, if there are stronger or frequent thunderstorms, they will be west and south of the area. Since this guy is coming through in the evening and with no sun (or lights for Earth Hour) then it will be very difficult to get sufficient lift to either form storms or keep them going. So, perhaps some rumbles of thunder Saturday night followed by clouds and rain on Sunday. The sun returns with mild but not too terrible conditions for the first part of the new week.