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Part of me thinks the point of Earth Hour (Saturday, March 27, at 8:30pm) is to raise the question What’s the Point? But for whatever reason, the idea of turning off the lights and non-essential electronics for an hour brings out strong emotions.

In one corner are those who believe that Earth Hour is an important communal statement: up to a billion people flicking their switches to signal their commitment to energy efficiency as a way to lower our collective environmental footprint.

In the other are those who can’t believe so many suckers fall for the idea that Earth Hour is important, because a) turning off the lights for an hour doesn’t make any difference; b) it sends the signal that the only way out of our environmental mess is extreme deprivation; or c) by making efficiency seem easy it distracts everyone from the work involved with really lowering our energy use. Yeesh.

Look, the thing about Earth Hour is – it’s fun. You have dinner or a drink in the candlelight, or get to a viewpoint where you can watch your city’s lights go out, then blink back on 60 minutes later, or give your kids an excuse to run around the house with a flashlight. If you’re more ambitious, you go to an event in your home town. (For those in San Francisco, it looks like the Golden Gate Bridge will go dark this year.) And if you don’t like any of those options, I’m sure you can come up with some other fun stuff to do in the dark.

So let’s all lighten up and have some fun with Earth Hour this year. If you’d like to spread the word, join up at If you’d like to let us know what you got up to, feel free to drop us a line in the comments.

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