When wondering how dark Atlanta was planning to be for Earth Hour 2011, I read an article in Atlanta Daybook, “Governor’s Energy Challenge partners with Earth Hour Atlanta for Energy Efficiency”. This was published in reference to last year’s upcoming Earth Hour events – exactly a year ago today.
In this brief article, Phil Foil, Executive Director of Georgia Environmental Finance Authority stated:
“We are excited to participate with Earth Hour. Working to reduce energy statewide shows true leadership by the Governor and expanding the message of Earth Hour to include long term action helps all Georgians.”
This was in light of Sonny Perdue’s stated commitment of Georgia’s state agencies to reduce Georgia’s energy consumption by 15% before the year 2020. See for yourself at: State Energy Strategy for Georgia
So I thought, “Great! This global conservation event is endorsed by our elected officials!”
I quickly put my search engine shoes on and went for a walk through facts and info. I wanted to know who was participating, how Atlanta specifically would show support. I wanted to know the numbers, how much energy would fail to emit its harsh footprint in our Mother City for that hour this Saturday night.
My first stop was Phil Foil, self-proclaimed supporter and participant of Earth Hour, Executive Director of GEFA. Click. Nothing. Search. Nothing. “No results found that match your search criteria.“
OK then. A little surprised, but on to Sonny Perdue, the creator of The Governor’s Energy Challenge. I searched at Georgia’s public website www.sonnyperdue.georgia.gov.
Shock and surprise. There is no mention of Earth Hour on the homepage. So I searched more. No mention at all of Earth Hour 2011 within the depths of these State government pages. Why aren’t we talking about flipping off our switches this year?
So how about Nathan Deal… is he carrying the torch? Searching…. no obvious mention of our new Governor’s support of this conservation effort anywhere. Hmmmm… I wonder if he’s scared of the dark? Or is he just not staying abreast of current environmental efforts?
This is a shame. Atlanta had such a great participation in this impactful event for the past two years – with reportedly over 700 buildings going dark simultaneously throughout the city last year. Seems like someone in our government would publicly endorse this effort – one that has obviously been supported by Atlanta citizens and businesses in the past.
On to the Great Oz – or Google, as some call him. Finally, “Earth Hour 2011 Atlanta” drummed up some local supporters! Among these are the Georgia World Congress Center, Georgia Dome and Centennial Olympic Park. They, along with Emory University and several other local participants, will be turning out their lights in celebration of Earth Hour. The only publicized event that I found listed is an Earth Hour Bonfire on the Square hosted by The City of Decatur. Great idea, Decatur!
Although I didn’t stumble across much local media attention – or any government endorsement – of this year’s Earth Hour event, I hope that somehow, perhaps I just made a wrong turn during my walk through Searchville. I hope that this year Atlanta will choose to sit in the dark with the rest of the world for one hour to visibly show its commitment to reducing our collective impact on our planet’s limited resources.
It’s a very simple effort that shows how several small things can add up to produce one powerful outcome.
“Earth Hour is a chance for people and communities across the globe to join together with the common purpose of a sustainable future for our planet.” (Andy Ridley, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Earth Hour)
So, come on Atlanta – Lights out! Even if our State governing body doesn’t want to encourage turning out the lights, we can show them that we aren’t scared of the dark. Let’s join together in what could be the world’s single largest voluntary power-down in history.Take a small step and be a part of something big!
Interesting Earth Hour Facts:
Last year in Atlanta over 700 buildings turned off their lights to observe Earth Hour. reapingnature.com
Each year the City of Atlanta spends more than $21 million for electricity in government buildings alone. atlanta.gov
Earth Hour was first started in Sidney, AU to demonstrate the impact we have on our environment. wwf.org
The first Earth Hour observance resulted in more than a 10% energy reduction in Sydney alone – the equivalent of taking 48,000 cars off the road. chiff.com
Earth Hour 2011 is already set to be record breaking, with 131 countries and territories registered to take part. All seven continents, all G20 countries, thousands of cities, and iconic landmarks and public figures will join with hundreds of millions across the world to celebrate action for the planet, this Saturday, 26 March, at 8:30pm. Earth Hour Blog
The following is a partial list of Earth Hour 2011 participants: Look who is getting involved
For more information:
Earth Hour Home
World Wildlife Fund
Earth Hour Timeline
Earth Hour Kids
How to be more energy efficient
Guide to Global Warming