I don’t know if you’ve heard about this already, but I really like the idea of having an extra hour of sunlight, achievable by moving the clocks forward by an hour, so that it’s Lighter Later, as the campaign has so succinctly been branded.
It’s from the people that brought you 10:10 and The Age of Stupid before it, whose mission was and remains to guide Britons towards achieving a 10% cut in UK greenhouse gas emissions, and thus reducing their carbon footprints, in 2010.
If you haven’t made a commitment to cutting your emissions yet, you can still sign up and see a multitude of ways of treading more lightly – here. If you’re not in the UK, please take a look anyway, because, as another campaign makes starkly clear, it’s not about which country you’re from, but which planet. And we’re all from the same planet, even though it’s often hard to believe.
More on Earth Hour later.
The obvious safety benefits of having an extra hour of natural light in the evening are numerous and, of course, crucially, it would reduce carbon emissions: at least 447,000 tonnes each year from the UK, apparently, which is equivalent to more than 50,000 cars driving all the way around the world.
What do you think of the idea? It’s gathering considerable support.
In other news, Scotland has endured its coldest winter for almost 100 years and it’s snowing there now, with Easter just days away. Do you consider this alarming enough to change habits and reduce consumption in all its gluttonous forms? The grim prediction for much of the globe is that its land and waters will freeze rather than warm, after all. What we now think of as wet will pale (get it?) in comparison to the predicted increased rainfall, along with the high winds, vicious snowstorms and other evidence of erratic, dramatic weather. To speak of ‘global warming’ is most misleading.
On the other hand, does the fact that the weather has been colder not act as a powerful shot in the arm to climate change sceptics and deniers everywhere? Some have been quite smug lately: record snowfall is clear evidence of global cooling, not warming, they say, so there (although only some regions have experienced cold weather, which is hardly ‘global’, and this can be explained by the ‘Arctic oscillation’ being at its strongest for at least 60 years… or so it says here).
What slaps you across the face with another (a third?) cold, clammy hand is that weather is what happens in the short term whereas matters of climate pertain to long-term trends and not current weather patterns. Frost and snow is still consistent with predictions for global warming, say the scientists; global warming simply prevents such cold snaps from occurring more regularly, making the ones we do experience all the more uncomfortable.
Giles Coren says it, too. And he uses the delightful word “numbskulls”.
Earth Hour was observed for the fourth time on Saturday, with millions of people in a record 125 countries, spread over all seven continents, turning off their lights in a symbolic show of support for Earth and those who wish to preserve it.
If you were cynical about this grand, visual statement last year, have your views softened or hardened since? As ever, I’d be curious to learn what you’ve done most recently to reduce the size of your carbon footprint and, although I’ll probably never completely embrace your scepticism, I’d equally like to hear if and why you may still scoff at the suggestion that you need to reduce anything, because you don’t believe that human activity is so relevant to the issue.
Whether or not man has caused the Earth to warm, in order to keep temperatures down, it is widely agreed that we must cut global emissions drastically. If, with an election looming, I may appeal to those of you in the UK once more: you can e-mail your MP with just a few casual clicks of your mouse – here – and help ensure that, after the disappointment of the Copenhagen Summit in December, where no firm climate deal was agreed, climate change is firmly on the election agenda. This recent story should encourage and discourage in equal measure.
Oh, and the theme of today’s entirely optional brain training session is ‘Songs With Words Relating To the Weather and Environment and Climate in Their Titles’, please – be it the sunshine on your shoulders, like John Denver’s, of your love, like Cream’s, or even the plain and unwelcome kind that Jonathan Edwards tired of.
Here’s one with a rather appropriate title, considering the post’s subject matter (I’m not being very subtle, I know): ‘Blister in the Sun’ by the Violent Femmes.