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Earth Hour: A bust?

March 29, 2009 |  9:22 am


Was Earth Hour a bust? So it appeared in the San Fernando Valley of California, as demographically close to Middle America as anywhere.

I  stood on my balcony before the witching hour of 8:30 p.m., overlooking a vast landscape of twinkling lights, illuminated apartment buildings, pizza parlors, supermarkets and suburban bungalows.

I waited. Even hoped.

The minutes ticked by. I squinted. Could I see a single light winking off in the distance?


I glanced up the hill behind my house. Every home's lights were ablaze. The outdoor bulbs in the garden of my neighbor, a hairdresser, gleamed defiantly. A bright glow issued from the windows of the neighbor across the street, a hospital technician.

8:40 p.m. ... no change.

9 change.

How could this be when the World Wildlife Fund and its PR agencies were churning out press releases about how from Scott Base in Antarctica to the Great Pyramids of Egypt, lights were dimming to demand that something be done about climate change?

A billion people might participate, they had claimed.

Our own Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had held a news conference proclaiming that L.A. would be one of the signal Earth Hour cities.

I woke up this morning and logged on to Google News. The Associated Press -- admittedly with a Bonn dateline -- was declaring "For environmental activists: the message was clear: Earth Hour was a huge success."

"Last night's message from the masses was loud and clear: Delay no more, real action now!" Kim Carstensen, the leader of WWF's Global Climate Initiative, said in a statement.

What masses was he talking about? Surely not the ones surveyed in that recent Gallup poll showing a major drop in U.S. concern over global warming.

Any thoughts Greenspace readers? Will Earth Hour drive climate change action? Did you turn out your lights for a whole hour? Did your friends? Neighbors?

-- Margot Roosevelt

Photo: Earth Hour spurs lights-out for monuments. Credit: AP / Las Vegas Sun / Los Angeles Times