28 March 2009

Earth (Half) Hour

It was exciting to hear that the icon of the LDS Church, the Salt Lake Temple, would be apart of Earth Hour 2009. From the hills north of the city, the view is spectacular and provided a good location to see the lights go out. It was exciting to actually see the temple lights turned off in support of an important moral issue of our time. Unfortunately, from this vantage point, the temple appeared to be the only building in the city participating in making a statement about climate change. I kept waiting for the State Capitol lights to go out, but they never did. Surprising for a city signed up as a 'participating city'.

So the lights on the temple went out at 8:30pm. I was hoping that the other temple lights seen from the hill (Draper and Jordan River) would also go out, but they didn't. Heading down the hill to Temple Square to get some up-close shots, I was surprised when the lights came back on at 9:00pm. The video only partially shows this, since I had to quickly grab the camera and turn it on. So instead of Earth Hour, we'll call this one Earth (Half) Hour. But it's a great start. Maybe we'll get the full hour next year. And maybe we'll get other temples and all of Temple Square involved as well. Hopefully the Church will continue such an active and visible role in increasing awareness about global warming.


Dan Knudsen said...

Hurrah for Salt Lake City having no lights turned off, except for the temple’s half hour of silence! Were we all supposed to watch television in the dark for that hour? How many used candles to comply? Did those candles waste more energy than electricity would have used, and at a greater cost to the environment? Did anyone investigate that? Isn’t the really important thing that we feel good about ourselves whether what we’re doing helps anything, or not? Who cares what really happens, as long as we’re bowing at the right time? Many of those telling us to live in the stone age are wasting way more energy than those of us who are lower on the food chain--as it were--and will not restrict themselves to such a life style.

I am skeptical of these kinds of celebrations, mainly because of the track record of the groups who push them. It seems like they are out after power over the lower-intellectually-than-they-are people, who don’t have brains enough to take care of themselves properly--how did civilization ever arrive at where we are now without their intervention?

Joseph Smith said to teach people correct principles and let them govern themselves--does that mean anything? Does anyone care?

Anonymous said...

Global what?

Th. said...


Hey---you might be in a position to know.

At one time, the Oakland Temple was an important landmark for ships navigating the Golden Gate and so it needed to be visible whenever the weather allowed. In this era of GPS, is that still true?

Anonymous said...

I agree that it is something of a stunt with more symbolic than actual value. However it may show that we actually need less lighting than we think to get by. Here is an excellent site showing both before and after photos of famous landmarks around the world during Earth Hour: http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/03/earth_hour_2009.html. You can click on a photo of the Coliseum or Sydney Opera House and watch the lights fade. But even after the dimming you can still see things pretty clearly. I think we've gotten too used to overlighting. Ever been into a 99 cent store or 7-11 at night? The lighting is ridiculous. I often put on sunglasses when going in these stores at night because they're so bright it kills my night vision.

Sweet Em said...

Not entirely related but did you see this news release from the newsroom, any insight?


David said...

"I am skeptical of these kinds of celebrations, mainly because of the track record of the groups who push them."

Recently my institute director told me about one of his child's second grade class project. Each child compiled their family "carbon footprint". Although the institute director has a large family (even by mormon standards) their "carbon footprint" was the lowest in the class. He said the teacher was rather embarrassed about her own family's (just herself and one child) "carbon footprint" after seeing theirs.

A few weeks ago, it was a chilly (by local standards) morning on California's central coast when my teacher commented on "sustainability" being just a word at our Cal Poly, SLO. Our seismic analysis class meets at 8 am in the "Construction Innovation Center" and more than a few in the class were a bit uncomfortable with the cool temperature in the air-conditioned room (noticeably cooler than outside). The building is visible all-night from several miles up the hill from town because it is lit so brightly. A (not so) great example of sustainability at one of California's leading schools of architecture and environmental design.

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Karl Hegbloom said...

I have written an essay inspired by this one. It is entitled "Not Seeing the Lights". Basically, what good does it do to turn off the lights on one special building for half an hour one day per year, when the real problem is all the other lights on that are wasting electricity?

The Lord's Supper isn't Sunday Dinner; it's a symbol of our participation in the "at-one-ment" that makes our complex civilization possible. The ritual only provides a point in time and space at which we say a thing has happened that in reality must occur on a more protracted basis, integrated into our daily lives. So shut off the lights on your way out the door, Ok?