Lights On – Caviar Out

by Einar Du Rietz

The campaign is on again with expensive ad’s for Earth Hour, and local politicians have been forced for months to defend their decisions on shutting of the lights on central buildings, or not.

In the midst of the IPCC debacle, the activists and politicians pretend that shutting out the lights for one hour from 8:30 pm will, if not save the climate, at least send a signal to those in charge. Whoever they are. To do what?

It is, indeed, an impressive campaign.

And possibly dangerous. I’m convinced even the organizers have realised that street lamps, hospitals and airports should not mind, but how about other things? It’s quite possible to live in the dark for an hour, but if you live in a city, or a house filled with lamps, the sudden change can be devastating. Now, where’s that land mark (which incidentally neither at sea, nor on land has to be a light house or a traffic sign)? Should the gas station get dark? The Eiffel Tower? The city lights below your trekking rout on a narrow path?

But above all, it’s an insult to all the people living without electricity, or desperatly trying to use the last light bulb in the smartest way. There is a reason why some years ago, the most energy efficient refrigerator in the world was produced in China, and not even by a Chinese company. The leading manufacturers of hospital equipment are desperate to find new solutions to handle electricity shortage in developing countries.

Low energy and low cost laptops are also being developed and distributed, but those who can read this, most likely have either chosen, or being forced by the EU to switch to low energy light bulbs, in homes where the energy efficiency of the well stocked freezer consumes half as much energy as the last one did.

Will the next campaign be to abstain from caviar and champagne for an hour?


About the Author: Einar Du Rietz

Einar Du Rietz is a journalist and communications consultant based in Europe. He has authored several environmental reports for the Electrolux Group and written many blogs for the Center for the New Europe at CNE Environment.

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