March 29, 2009

Whatever your console-game-playing plans are today, take a break for an hour starting at 8:30 p.m.

That’s the designated time worldwide for Earth Hour, a 60-minute effort to power down all non-essential lights and electrical devices to raise awareness for conservation and climate change.

Earth Hour, observed the last Saturday each March, was started in Australia a couple years ago by the World Wide Fund for Nature, which succeeded in getting the city of Sydney to go dark for the cause. A year later, 400 other cities decided to do the same, and for added symbolism turned out the lights on their chief landmarks.

In the United States, the Empire State Building, the Sears Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Space Needle were among those U.S. landmarks that went dark. This year, more than 2,000 cities worldwide, including St. Louis, have signed up to observe the occasion.

Now, of course, the power draw for an hour’s worth of fun on your Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 is nothing compared to the same hour keeping the Sears Tower illuminated. The point is though, every little bit helps, and any amount of time that the big-box consoles are off actually helps more than you may think.

Last fall, a study co-sponsored by the National Resources Defense Council found that the big consoles together all chow down about 16 billion kilowatt-hours per year during gameplay — enough, the NRDC says, to light up San Diego for the same amount of time.

And that’s when the consoles are running. Just sitting idle, the Xbox 360 and PS3 still eat up about the same amount of energy per year as two full-size refrigerators.

So, tonight, do your part for Earth Hour by turning off and unplugging the game console. An hour now could help the planet later.



  1. twobigboobs Says:

    As for Earth Hour, I think it is a stupid event, that just wastes time and effort, and does NOTHING for the environment.

    I also despise people who take part in Earth Hour, who look down on those who choose not to participate.

    Check out our new blog post “Earth Hour is a Bogus Waste of Time” at Two Big Boobs Blog:


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