The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Saving the Earth, one hour at a time

“See the difference you can make,” the motto for Earth Hour 2008, called upon individuals to help make a difference in global pollution, particularly “light pollution.” Celebrated on March 29, the 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. hour was observed by millions who cut off lights and appliances for one hour in order to reduce electricity consumption worldwide.Now in its second year, the environmental effort became an international event that involved countries and mega-citites across the globe. In order to really see a difference, organizers encouraged people to make Earth Hour a part of their everyday lives.

Earth Hour, sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), is observed on the last Saturday in March and began in Sydney, Australia in 2007. The cause has drawn support from 370 cities across the world and from businesses. Many U.S. cities participated, including Chicago, San Francisco and Phoenix.

In Chicago at least 200 downtown buildings went dark during Earth Hour. Among those were Sears Tower, Wrigley Field, and the John Hancock Center.

The lights also went out at famous sites in San Francisco including the Golden Gate Bridge and Coit Tower. City employees in Phoenix turned off lights in all city-owned buildings in the downtown area.

The Google home page “turned out the lights” on March 29, demonstrated by a darkened computer screen, in an attempt to raise awareness for the cause. The site included links to more information about Earth Hour. The Google site explained why they did not darken the screen permanently: “modern displays use the same amount of power regardless of what they display.”

Courtney Fenters, first-year, cites Google as the source that alerted her to Earth Hour.

“I think they made a difference for that hour” said Fenters of Earth Hour organizers.

When asked if Earth Hour fits into what Guilford is about, Vicki Foust, visiting instructor of business management, said, “Absolutely! One of Guilford’s core values is stewardship. Earth Hour is encouraging individuals to take personal responsibility for their carbon emissions and energy consumption by creating awareness. Sounds like Earth Hour is working towards the long-term survival of our planet. That’s stewardship.”

Foust participated in Earth Hour. She has been a member of World Wildlife Fund as well as Greenpeace.

“Earth Hour totally fits in with what Guilford is about,” said senior Alan Rhodes. “Guilford is about well-intentioned acts that support socially responsible causes, and even though Earth Hour seems like it’s just a token act of environmentalism, it’s still a good cause.”

Recently Guilford has taken many steps toward becoming an environmentally friendly campus. Creating a Sustainability Council, posting notices under light switches to turn them off when they are not in use, equipping many bathroom stalls with water saving devices, and installing solar panels on the Shore dormitory, are only a few.

“The move toward water-conserving toilets also seems like a positive move,” Rhodes said. “I’d love to see the more solar power implemented on Guilford campus as well.”

“Last year President Chabotar signed the President’s Climate Commitment, which means that Guilford College is committed to going carbon neutral at some point in the future,” Foust said. She is also a member of that committee.

Despite the praise of Earth Hour, there were several criticisms of the event.

“Frankly, I think that Earth Hour, despite its good intentions, is pretty ineffective altogether,” Rhodes said. “There are 8760 hours in a year so it’s hard to believe that reducing energy consumption by some fractional amount for a single hour out of a year would have a lasting impact.”

Most of the criticism focused on a lack of publicity for the event, especially locally.

“I don’t think it was publicized enough,” Foust said.

Fenters said, “I think people should try to raise awareness for it.”

Earth Day, which has been celebrated since 1970, also has the support of the World Wildlife Fund. It will be celebrated on April 22.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Guilfordian intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Guilfordian does not allow anonymous comments, and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Guilfordian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *