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Earth Hour is a bit silly, but it is not as silly as this petty "Human Achievement Hour". It's really a kind of vandalism. There are other reasons not to needlessly use electric lighting. One of them is that the overuse of electric lighting has greatly diminished our ability to enjoy the night sky, something which was remarked upon by our host in Sorry Wrong Number. So it is irritating that some group of philistines think it is clever to do something like that merely to spite the green movement (and leaves one to suspect that this attitude would persist outside of Earth Hour). Light pollution is a genuine environmental disaster that is a blight on all of our lives that some it seems fail to appreciate.
Unfortunately, I see that one of those people is Anthony Watts of the Watts Up With That blog.
I think the reaction to "Human Achievement Hour" (HAH) depends on your perception of the Green movement. If you see the Green movement as a bunch of amateurish do-gooders trying to raise public awareness then HAH might look spiteful. But if you see the Green movement as a well-organised lobby group that is particularly adept at influencing and manipulating politicians, then Earth Hour looks a lot more sinister and HAH is a reasonable response.
Evidence for the latter interpretation is given on WWF's website:
"In Bonn on Sunday, UN climate chief Yvo de Boer, the head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), told delegates from nearly 190 nations:
"Earth Hour was probably the largest public demonstration on climate change ever. Its aim was to tell every government representative to seal the deal in Copenhagen.
”The world’s concerned citizens have given the negotiations an additional clear mandate.""
Light pollution is certainly not good for people with an interest in astronomy but I don't think it entirely arises because people are wasteful about electricity. In the UK lots of lights are left on at night in an attempt to deter burglars.
As an example of my point that lights are often left on at night to deter burglars, here's a news story where Essex County Council bowed to Green pressure and are conducting a trial where street lights in a few towns are switched off after midnight.
According to local residents, the switch-off has resulted in an effective 'curfew on women' and an increase in the number of burglaries.
OT: At Oregon State, we had "light corridors" for people to follow at night to help prevent attacks on woman. One odd characteristic of these lights was that they would often go out as you came into their field.
This got them named "rape lights".
I have long argued that switching off street lighting after a certain time or making lighting more intelligent (and traffic lights) would help.... why light unused streets? (why wait at red lights when there is no contending traffic?)
The problem is that one shouldn't do things in isolation nor should one neglect the law of unintended (but not unanticipated) consequences.
The examples quoted above should be enough to have clued the authorities in as to what consequences might be expected and instead of appointing zillions of zealots to collect spot fines from people who drop bits of meat pie that are instantly hoovered up by passing seagulls (and bio-degradable anyway) they should have sent out a covey of "street wardens" like the link-men of old.
Maybe they could even have diverted some police from catching speeding motorists and TV licence evaders to old fashioned street policing.
Of course, the real intent of this exercise was actually to justify spending (I'll think of a reason why some time, I'm just supposing this must be the case or they'd surely have done the job better) a fortune on street lighting and hence the negative effects were actually counted upon.