3.28.2009

Lights Out, Lights On


You've probably seen this already, but 2,000+ cities are planning on turning the lights out at 8:30p local time as part of Earth Hour, a coordinated event that seeks to draw attention to the issues of climate change and global warming. This won't be hard in the Huang household, since we're often lights out by that hour.

If this event can help call attention to the need for intentional action to curb resource consumption, then that's great. But I hope that the behavioral changes we start to see among individuals, firms, and governments aren't just associated with hitting the switch once a year, but rather the little decisions we make throughout our daily routines - to put recyclables in the recycle bin instead of the trash, to reduce the amount of trash in the first place, to turn off lights when not in use.

For all of our tough talk about tackling the environment, far too many of us piss away far too much in precious resources - we let the water run, we idle our cars, and we leave appliances plugged in. Government can regulate us towards some better behavior, through carbon taxes or an end to below-wholesale electricity prices for example, but ultimately we all have to make conscious decisions to treat our scarce resources appropriately. In other words, turn the lights out at 8:30p tonight . . . but leave the light on inside your head.
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