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[Editorial] Earth Hour 2008

Posted March. 31, 2008 03:03,   


Many parts of the world joined a global movement to turn off lights Saturday to raise awareness on global warming and energy conservation. Known as “Earth Hour 2008” and organized by the World Wildlife Fund, the campaign encouraged cities and people to turn off lights for an hour. Korea participated by turning off lights in major buildings and 22 bridges across the Han River in Seoul from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Some apartment buildings also joined this “lights out” event.

The campaign that began in Australia last year spread to 20 large and 300 small cities across the globe, including those in Europe and China. An hour of no lights might not drastically reduce energy consumption, but its significance lies in its attempt to urge participants to think about energy conservation and the future of the global environment.

Global warming is much more than melting glaciers and rising sea levels; it has great economic repercussions as well. With the rise in bio-fuel consumption as part of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the global prices of crops, the main source of bio-fuel, have skyrocketed. Many households are also worse off due to “agflation,” which raises the price of imports. At the national level, Korea has run a current account deficit for two consecutive months for the first time in 11 years since the Asian financial crisis due to the surge in commodities prices, including that of oil. Therefore, the consequences of environmental and energy crises are clearly far more than simply topics for an environmental discussion. The problems are directly related to household economy and the people’s standard of living.

Making energy conservation part of everyday life is as critical as putting an all-out effort to secure energy resources. Using public transportation instead of driving is one way to save energy and protect our one and only planet. As readers can see from The Dong-A Ilbo’s series “How to Survive in an Age of High Oil Prices,” there are many cases where energy is inadvertently wasted. On the flip side, however, it means that there is much room for improvement. To have an “energy conscious” mindset deeply rooted in society, neighbors should also encourage each other to save energy.

One person might make little difference in the world. If people come together as one, however, they can create a miracle. “Earth Hour 2008” could be the first step in achieving such a miracle.