This weekend on March 26, 2011 at 8:30pm the 5th annual Earth hour will commence. More information can be found here http://www.earthhour.org/. If you do not already know what Earth Hour is, it is an hour dedicated to zero electricity usage. This means that for an entire hour you unplug your TV, alarm clock, stove, fridge, and shut off your lights, fans, cellphone. Anything that uses electricity you would shut off, or unplug for one hour out of the 8760 hours of the year, that is only 0.01% of your time.
You can make it a date with your significant other, and light a candle before you turn the lights out and enjoy some cheese and wine by candlelight. You can make it a celebration and invite your friends over for a few nightly drinks.
Quite often I have heard arguments that it won't make an impact, from those chose who not to participate in past Earth Hour events. Lets take a look at this if the entire city of Edmonton of one million people were to shut of one single light bulb each. Lets assume this was an efficient CFL light bulb at 35W, so each lightbulb would save 35Wh for Earth Hour. This means that if the entire city turned off one light bulb, 35,000,000 Wh or 35,000 kWh would have been saved. The electricity rate runs at $0.0/kWh, so this means that the entire city would have saved $2,800. This is only from one light bulb per person, if you were to extend this to your TV, your fridge, etc. the savings would be significantly more. And if the entire world could do this, all at the same time...just think what an impact it would make.
This has another impact, since you utility company can look at how much power was saved the previous year. With this knowledge our utility company knows they can expect less demand and can thus reduce how much power they would have normally generated.
So please take the 0.01% of your time and participate in Earth Hour, its not time to a pessimist, your actions do make an impact. You don't have to stop there, you can purchase a powerbar for your electronics and turn it off when you go to bed at night. Just imagine what an impact would be seen if one million Edmontonians did that every night.