Did Burien Celebrate “Earth Hour”? Not So Much…


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Burien's new City Hall celebrates "Earth Hour" by leaving all its lights on.

by Jim Branson

Having heard about Earth Hour on the news, (it was the lead story on Google News all day), I shut off all the lights and headed out for a walk with my dogs. I expected to see a few like-minded people out enjoying the festival of darkness to save the planet. I wondered what others were doing to celebrate Earth Hour, and I speculated that there might be a spike in births recorded in hospitals around the world on December 28th.

Instead, I found the streets were empty and lights blazed in almost every home as people sat in front of their TVs. Even yards that had prominently displayed political signs for pro-environment candidates had floodlights blazing. Fewer than one home in ten appeared dark, and some of those may have been vacant. One guy, the one with the immaculate lawn that he waters all summer and mows even in the dead of winter, had all the lights in his home on, and he also had a full-size truck running in the driveway with its headlights on, aimed out into the neighborhood. I’m not sure if this was his personal statement against Earth Hour, or just his standard practice.

The dogs and I walked through Olde Burien, and I expected a few of those shops, run by people who, one would hope, tend to pay attention to what’s going on in the world, to be participating in this global event. I thought some might even use it to promote business, inviting people to enjoy a candlelight dinner, perhaps. Not only were the open businesses fully lit, but most of the closed business had their lights blazing. They seem to leave them on all night, every night. The shops of Olde Burien even had extra lights strung along the tops of the buildings. All those lights make it a cheery place, I suppose.

The real kicker was the new Town Square. It is completely vacant right now, but lights shone from every floor of the residential building. The City Hall and Library building glowed so brightly it was hard to look at. I needed sunglasses to walk by it. These lights also stay on twenty-four hours a day, even at 9:26 on a Saturday night when no one is working. Participation in Earth Hour wouldn’t necessarily save the planet or even slow global warming, but it was a chance to raise awareness and show solidarity with our fellow earthlings as we recognize that our actions make a difference.

The city of Burien, its citizens, businesses, and government, seem to be sending a different message to Planet Earth:

“We hope you die a slow and horrible death, you stupid planet.”

Way to go, Burien.

Here are some photos of how other places around the world celebrated Earth Hour:

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Jim Branson is a longtime area resident and environmental activist. On a personal note, when “Earth Hour” rolled around at 8:30pm Saturday night, we actually turned off all the lights in our home and sat in the dark. It was not only peaceful, but it felt…different. Mostly because when we stepped out on our porch and looked around, we noticed that ours was the only “dark” house on the block. Sure, some think this is a silly exercise. And some think global warming is a bunch of hooey. We wonder if any of our Readers participated? If you did, what did you do? And if you didn’t…why not? Please Comment below…]

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Comments

17 Responses to “Did Burien Celebrate “Earth Hour”? Not So Much…”
  1. candice. says:

    We participated! We'd planned on hanging out in the back yard, but since it rained all day we had about friends over for a candle lit dinner. Of course by the time dinner rolled around it wasn't raining anymore.

    I, too, was upset by the lack of awareness or even support for Earth Hour from many folks around the area. The only reason the rest of our street was in the dark was because of all the foreclosed and abandoned houses (we live on a really swanky street).

    After reading comments on the Seattle Times blog about Earth Hour I felt like there's just no hope. Even here in Seattle (or Burien) people don't care! SHOCKING!

    I believe that with spreading the word and keeping faith in humanity next year will be more of a success around here. We can only hope.

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  2. btownblog says:

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Somehow this comment got accidentally deleted:

    Seems Jim is a bit bitter, I am very earth conscience person but I can say I knew nothing of this, it doesn't mean I don't practice Earth Day, I do that EVERYDAY.

    Amazes me that B-town blog would post such an article that slams Burien Businesses, the very people it takes money from so it can exist.

    If I was a Burien business, the first thing I would do is cancel my advertising with B-town Blog.

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  3. Cindy says:

    Hey b-town, way to bite that hand that feeds you!

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  4. btownblog says:

    Here's our response to the previous comment:

    We respect all opinions here, and this isn't the first impassioned (and perhaps controversial) "guest column" we've printed.

    We're trying to keep this blog as a place for civil discussion, and that includes differing opinions from all sides.

    One of our goals is to help Burien residents find a place to share their thoughts about local issues.

    While we don't fully agree with Mr. Branson's language, we respect his right to speak it, and invite all others to submit theirs, either in comments or via email to [email protected].

    Thanks,
    Scott Schaefer
    Publisher/Editor

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  5. btownblog says:

    Thanks Cindy! It was very tasty.

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  6. Not a zombie says:

    jimminy crickets – is it not clear that the earth is filled with zombies who don't really think for themselves but just do what they are told (via their circle which includes media)? bashing them in the face doesn't work real well…

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  7. A note to Jim from one schooled in religion: guilt and shame will get you a little of the way there, but in the end it's not what changes people. I'll bet you feel a lot better though…

    On another note, I very much appreciate the Btown blog printing editorials they don't necessarily agree with—it increases your credibility by, like, a ton 🙂

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  8. Tammy says:

    Wow, I'm really surprised about the attitude of the commenters. This is a news publication and as such are allowed to run editorials by readers, no matter what their opinion.

    The purpose of Earth Hour is to call attention to global climate change and to support finding alternate, more enviornmentally friendly engery. If the businesses in Burien are not supporting an event that is trying to help the enviornment, I want to know about it. I liked reading Jim Branson opinion and appreciate the b-town publishing it.

    My family and I celebrated Earth Hour this year and last. We lit a couple candles, played a couple board games and listened to the quiet. Happily we noticed two other homes on our block go dark. We ended up keeping the lights off and the candles lit long after the hour was over.

    Little steps can lead to big changes.

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  9. Jim Branson says:

    To the people who were offended by my opinion (which was only MY opinion, and not the B-Town Blog's) I apologize. My report on the non-observance of Earth Hour in Burien was meant to call attention to the fact that Burien city government mostly pays lip service to environmental protection while not taking any substantive action. It seems that Burien's indifference is okay with its citizens because I seem to be the only one who ever objects to the City's actons.

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  10. Jim Branson says:

    They cut down all the trees along Fourth avenue between 150th and 152nd, and I didn't read a singe letter of complaint in the HIghline Times, the B-Town Blog, or in letters addressed to the City Council. They built an unnecessary and pointless trail/road through a wetland in Seahurst Park, and I was the only one who spoke up. They have lights blazing 24/7 at TWO City Halls, and no one is saying anything about it. If the people of Burien are happy with their government's inaction on environmental issues, then they should be proud of their apathy. That seemed to be what everyone was saying on Saturday Night by collectively ignoring a well-publicized global event. If people want to direct their anger at me for pointing out the obvious, that's okay too.

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    • Smartass says:

      You get an A+ for your hippyness this month!! Do you need any help patting yourself on the back?

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  11. Jim Branson says:

    They cut down all the trees along Fourth avenue between 150th and 152nd, and I didn't read a singe letter of complaint in the HIghline Times, the B-Town Blog, or in letters addressed to the City Council. They built an unnecessary and pointless trail/road through a wetland in Seahurst Park, and I was the only one who spoke up. They have lights blazing 24/7 at TWO City Halls, and no one is saying anything about it. If the people of Burien are happy with their government's inaction on environmental issues, then they should be proud of their apathy. That seemed to be what everyone was saying on Saturday Night by collectively ignoring a well-publicized global event. If people want to direct their anger at me for pointing out the obvious, that's okay too.

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  12. Pauline says:

    It's so sad how people make harsh judgements of others who don't think and act exactly as they do themselves. Personally, I hadn't even heard about this "lights out" event until after the fact. As for the new City Hall, I doubt the City is in possession of it yet since it is still under construction. And it's my understanding that the City will have only the third floor — the Burien Library will be on the first and second floors. (I am really looking forward to the big new library!) Maybe the vitriol should be targeted at the construction company. BTW, most times I've driven past that current city hall at night, I haven't seen "lights blazing," just a few lights that appear to be on for security purposes. And my guess is the janitors do their work at night and need lights on, too.

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    • candice. says:

      Janitors may be working… but the point of Earth Hour is to turn out "nonessential lights". All those lights used to illuminate the buildings is unnecessary.

      I understand that there were a lot of people that hadn't heard about Earth Hour… but now you have. So mark your calendars for next year.

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  13. Mary Jane says:

    do I have to turn out my grow lights?

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