Tomorrow (March 23) at 8:30 p.m., households will dim their lights across the planet. But a recent article in Slate suggested that the practice might do more environmental harm than good. While that is debatable -- the author, Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, says that any reduction in emissions would be offset by the generators firing back up afterward, but others disagree -- his overall point is that much bigger steps must be taken.
"This is not about changing lightbulbs (although that is a fine thing to do, it will only reduce emissions about 0.1% of the amount that needs to be cut) or similar things," said David Lessmann, communications manager for the Copenhagen Consensus Center. "It is about changing the entire energy infrastructure of the world, and that is hard and costly. This is why the economists focus on innovation -- if we can get green energy to become cheaper than fossil fuels, everyone will eventually change over."
So, go ahead and turn out the lights (while you're at it, consider powering down televisions, computers, and smart phones too), with the understanding it's mostly an act of symbolism. As we've seen there are many ways to really go green.