Did Burien Commemorate Earth Hour 2010? Again, Not So Much
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Last Saturday night (March 27), citizens were asked to turn out their lights for “Earth Hour” between 8:30pm â€“ 9:30pm. As he did last year, BTB Contributor Jim Branson turned his lights out and took a walk around town, noting our city’s participation, or lack of it, in this worldwide event. Here’s his report:]
by Jim Branson
Once again, Burienâ€™s government chose to ignore Earth Hour, while cities like Seattle and Chicago went to some effort to show solidarity with this global environmental movement. In this case, Burienâ€™s elected officials and paid staff seemed to be in keeping with the mood of the electorate: Burien homeowners and businesses also ignored Earth Hour. While an estimated 80 million people around the US participated in this annual symbolic black out, only a handful of individuals in Burien saw fit to join in.
Like last year, my dogs and I turned the lights off at home and walked the streets of our small city to see how others chose to celebrate Earth Hour. We walked by about 130 homes, 80 businesses, and City Hall. Only one home (besides ours) was occupied and dark. I assumed they were participating, and that they hadnâ€™t just forgotten to pay the electric bill. An annual event that brought out a quarter of the nation seemed to inspire les than one percent of Burien residents.
Some object to Earth Hour as being pointless and futile, but I donâ€™t see how it is any more frivolous than anything else that humans value so highly, like, say, the Super Bowl. I enjoyed a nice walk with my dogs. The moon was nearly full and the high, thin clouds caused a ring to form around the moon. It is very peaceful and relaxing to walk along darkened streets, when car traffic is reduced to a minimum. I also enjoyed the chance to unite with people around the globe as landmarks went dark in Australia and Austria, Egypt and England, and Seattle and Chicago. I only wished that my home town would participate more, and I am puzzled that we donâ€™t.
The lights at the City Hall/Library building seemed only about two thirds as bright as last year. I could see that a few lights had been turned off. Also, a janitorial service was busy working, so they needed some light. The sculpture in Town Square Park had many lights shining on it. My hope is that next year for Earth Hour, our leaders will take the lead and darken that entire complex for one hour in 2011. It wouldnâ€™t cost the City any money at all. Clearly, it wonâ€™t happen if Iâ€™m the only one asking. What do other citizens of Burien think of the environmental movement in general, and Earth Hour in particular? Our local government has missed an opportunity that other city governments have taken advantage of, much like they are dropping the ball with the Shoreline Master Plan. They cut down the trees on 4th Avenue and on Des Moines Way without a peep of objection from anyone.
If Burienites care about the environment, why donâ€™t they speak up?
If they donâ€™t care about the environment, why not?
Someone please tell me why Burienâ€™s citizens, businesses, and elected officials canâ€™t be bothered to do something as simple as turning off a light switch?
Here are some photos taken by Jim showing what he saw during Earth Hour Saturday night:
Click to Play Jim Branson’s Slideshow