Considering the Earth


The date was March 28 so you either missed the event entirely, turned off your lights in the name of Earth Hour, a project of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) or left them on by Observing Human Achievement Hour, a project of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). If you turned off your lights you showed your commitment to climate change action now or if you left them on deliberately you chose to celebrate human progress and our advancements in various fields of industry including technology, medical and energy.

“From the Earth’s extremes to outer space, people came together to send a clear message that action on climate is on top of their agenda. Earth Hour confirms our belief that in order to change climate change we need to act together. WWF will continue to do its share to shape strong, global climate solutions,” said Sudhanshu Sarronwala, chair, board of directors, Earth Hour Global.

Over 1,400 landmarks switched off the lights last Saturday including the Empire State Building and the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Hong Kong’s iconic skyline. Close to 40 UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the Acropolis in Athens, the walled city of Baku, the Cologne Cathedral and the Galapagos Islands also participated.

According to CEI observing Human Achievement Hour is about paying tribute to the human innovations that have allowed people around the globe to live better, fuller lives, while also defending the basic human right to use energy to improve the quality of life of all people.

Human Achievement Hour is the counter argument to Earth Hour, which is an event where participants symbolically renounce the environmental impacts of modern technology by turning off their lights for an hour.

It’s true that Earth Hour does little to protect the environment. However, it’s certainly symbolically if a lot of people participated and may remind us of the value of energy and not to take it for granted.

But CEI says it is a misguided effort that completely ignores how modern technology allows societies around the world to develop new and more sustainable practices that help humans be more eco-friendly and better conserve our natural resources.

Taking a different stance the World Wide Fund for Nature aims to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. Currently, much of its work focuses on the conservation of oceans and coasts, forests and freshwater ecosystems. It is particularly concerned with endangered species, pollution and climate change.

Pronouncing last Saturday as Earth Hour WWF asked hundreds of millions of people around the world to turn off their lights for one hour to show their commitment to climate change action now, stating. “It’s time we speak up and demand a better future for our planet.”

Both groups appear to have the best interests of the Earth in mind striving to develop new and more sustainable practices that help humans be more eco-friendly and better conserve our natural resources (this comes from CEI while WWF focuses more strongly on nature).

In Bend, The Environmental Center is focusing via The Bend Energy Challenge on building momentum for clean, efficient and renewable energy. The organization has qualified to compete for a $5 million Energy Prize competition challenge.

The Bend Energy Challenge hopes to persuade 5,500 Bend households to reduce their energy use by at least 10 percent, through a combination of low-cost and do-it-yourself energy saving activities, home retrofits and going solar.

The Georgetown University Energy Prize competition aims to help cities and counties across the country to drastically improve their energy efficiency — a goal that aligns with both the Earth Hour promoters and the Observing Human Achievement Hour. But what will be the end result of having $5 million in Bend do for our community or for the Earth?

The answer may come in the form of energy efficiency — energy saved through conservation and efficiency has the potential to eclipse the energy generated by any other single fuel source including coal, oil, gas, biofuels and solar.

If Bend gets the $5 million, The Environmental Center plans to create a loan fund for moderate income families to use clean, efficient energy, another fund that invests in energy innovation by local businesses and invest in iconic local projects that will measurably reduce our energy use. (See story page 19)

Whether you celebrated progress or made a symbolic gesture to turn off your lights in the name of climate change you ultimately have the same goal of preserving our natural resources. Even if you don’t believe in any of it, rather that the Earth has a mind of her own and what happens, happens…there is still absolutely nothing wrong with being a prudent user of our natural resources.

We look forward to helping The Environmental Center become an Energy Prize winner over the next two years. We could all take a strong look at technology and innovation to help solve environmental challenges.


About Author

Thanks to getting fired 20 years ago by a previous publication, Pamela Hulse Andrews became the founder and publisher of Cascade Publications Inc. which publishes both the print and online versions of Cascade Business News and Cascade Arts & Entertainment. Pamela’s diverse business background gives her a broad perspective on the arts and business community. She has championed the growth of the arts in the high desert region and played a leadership role in connecting the dots between arts and economic vitality. She writes an assortment of monthly and weekly columns on local arts, politics, business and the economy, creativity and developing entrepreneurship.

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