Is Earth Hour just hype? – Inside Science

By Dennis Posadas on March 24, 2011 5:16 PM | 1 Comment | No TrackBacks
So here we go again. We are being asked to switch off our lights for one hour this March 26, Saturday at 830pm and participate in Earth Hour, so that the Philippines will end up in the news as being one of its most avid supporters worldwide. Suddenly, companies are now on the bandwagon – after all, it is a cheap way to appear “green” to the public.

Do I have anything against Earth Hour? No, not at all. In fact, I do try to join in and turn off my lights, and participate in this symbolic exercise.

What I’m against is the hype machine that surrounds it. To top it off, people shutoff their 12W light bulbs yet drive off to attend an Earth Hour concert – thus generating more carbon in the process.

One thing you have to realize is that even if a large number of us shutoff our lights, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a coal plant also shuts down for an hour – thus cutting off the carbon emission for an hour. No it doesn’t work that way. One hour is really too short to shut down and restart an electric plant.

In the quest towards a low carbon economy, symbolism is fine – at the start. But if that’s all you do year in and year out, you are just contributing to fueling the hype machine. Go beyond that. Go for permanent change.

When March 26 this Saturday 830pm comes, do join in and shutoff your lights. But after that, figure out a way how to permanently replace that light with an energy conserving one, and figure out how to reduce your waste lighting permanently. If you still have fluorescent bulbs, replace these with CFL’s or better yet LED lighting. Consider investing in air conditioners, heat exchangers and other appliances with better energy saving ratios.

Unfortunately, it is cheaper for companies to be Earth Hour sponsors than to actually make permanent changes to their operations to allow them to consume less electricity.

Want to make Earth Hour better? Figure out what you are doing this year that makes you use and generate less carbon from last year.

Is Earth Hour just hype? It really depends on how you observe it. Symbolism that leads to action is fine. Symbolism that remains just that is simply hype.

Dennis Posadas is the author of Jump Start: A Technopreneurship Fable (Singapore: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009). A sample of his new Green Thinking fable ebook on clean energy can be read at 


   This article is very informative yet very emotional. It presents different types of fallacies such as Ad Misericordiam, Poisoning the Well and Hasty Generalizations. The author presented his views very one sided without finding and appreciating its pros. He just spoke about it being a symbolism rather than the idea of having it. He did not even look at it as a way people gave time up for this event and that businesses stopped just for this. He just presented it as if it is something these businesses did to look “good” or have a good image within it.


    These fallacies were all seen throughout the author’s blog. Starting with: Ad Misericordiam which was seen due to the way he was directing his feeling about the Earth Hour. He showed that having this was more of a hype rather than a symbolism and a time to appreciate it. The author had his own feelings affect his writing which might have made him dislike the way Earth Hour is. He feels that it could be better by having true changes within personal lives rather than doing this once a month or once a year. He did not even think or appreciate the fact that more and more people are already doing this besides joining the Earth Hour.   


The author generalized all as having the Earth Hour as a hype rather as an inspiration which led to this article having the fallacy, Hasty Generalizations. He did not have enough proofs that companies do this just to have a good image rather than doing it as part of the community and to help the greater good. He did not give proofs of which companies and which communities did this as a hype. As for the people who went to the concerts they just appreciate this time to enjoy it and spend it together with family friends. Going to this concert may still have saved on emissions by carpools and by not going anywhere farther. He generalized everyone doing this as a symbolism and hype to make one more popular and giving a good name to one’s self rather than doing it out of the good of one’s self.


    Another fallacy which was found would be Poisoning the Well because the author showed that he looked at everyone even before this event began and he just relied on the past. He did not even think that people might change and that everything will and always be different from one another. He even taught the people how to change their lights and to save energy which isn’t wrong but he could have mentioned gratitude or appreciation for the people who are doing this out of their heart without reflecting an how bad or how unhealthy this is towards earth. He could have not judge is due to the past maybe he could have judged this with his way after the Earth Hour has taken effect.


      The author may have written this article due to the way he felt about this Earth Hour project and by whom the people surrounding him may have treated or looked at this event. His educational background does not have anything to do with this but only the way he generalizes and looks at everyone without looking at the pros and cons, also the differences between one another. He may have committed this fallacies due to how his community, family and friends may have treated this event, maybe they all took it just as a hype rather than an inspiration and a step forward. 


      I feel that this author judged it with generalizations rather than specifically. He was not able to understand its true meaning and its inspiration. He was not able to see how this activity may inspire people to do this and find ways to save the environment all throughout the year. He also was not able to thoroughly think that some people and companies do this out of love for the environment rather than the way they do this just to hype up their own name.


      These may be caused by people’s emotions, which usually affect one’s decisions and writings. People should think mind over heart in order to have the best decisions, though this must not apply in all cases because it is one’s decision from the heart makes one’s self happy. People’s religions, beliefs and the way they are brought up may also affect the way they add falacies due to the fact which they were brought up in different communities and surroundings. Fallacies are committed everyday yet people don’t usually notice it. These should be prevented as much as possible but not removed because these are the ones which also spark controversies and interests within people. 


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