Let's Make Every Hour, Earth Hour

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It used to be that you only had to spend twenty-four hours to pretend to care about saving the environment and fighting anthropogenic Global Warming. Now the City of Seattle has ratcheted the number up to twenty-five hours.

The Mayor's office has sent out a press release saying Seattle will be participating in Earth Hour on Saturday, March 28. Apparently it is joining cities from around the globe in turning off the lights on iconic buildings. Locally, that means lighting on the Space Needle, Pacific Science Center, the Seattle Municipal Tower, the Seattle City Light Sign on the corner of Fourth and Spokane and various city owned properties will go dark from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. tomorrow.

Mayor Greg Nickels said in a statement, "The simple act of turning off the lights for an hour is a gesture that will help bring awareness to the everyday things we can do to reduce climate pollution."

So apparently the way to save the Earth Mother Gaia is to sit around in the dark for sixty minutes. There's no word on whether you are allowed to use candles for illumination after the lights are off. But if not, it certainly gives you a good opportunity to get freaky with your significant other. Well at least for six or seven minutes.

Off-color humor aside, in terms of a really futile and stupid gesture, this rates in the Delta House range. We get that burning fossil fuels like coal and gas to fuel power plants produces greenhouse gas which is going to kill us all.

The thing is, nearly all of the power generated by Seattle City Light comes from clean and even "carbon neutral" sources. Consider this information off of City Light's own homepage (circa 2007).

"Seattle City Light's hydroelectric projects on the Skagit and Pend Oreille Rivers provide about half of the power customers need. The remainder comes from a mix of power sources, including long-term contracts with the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and others."

Hydro accounts for 90.61 percent of energy production. Nuclear 4.83 percent. Wind 3.25 percent. Coal 0.85 percent. And Natural Gas 0.37 percent.

So only 1.22 percent of the city's power is generated by anything that can be even remotely construed as a greenhouse polluting power plant. And that's if you buy into the notion that it's man causing Climate Change and Global Warming to begin with. And not simply natural warming and cooling cycles of the sun, ocean currents and tectonic activity.

 
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