Aid to the

We explain why Earth Hour is actually a waste of resources, not a saving

Today we are telling you why you should not join this campaign and switch off your lights. We take a closer look at the energy efficiency aspects and symbolism of the Earth Hour campaign, as well as the importance of careful electricity consumption in the current situation in Ukraine.

Although the Owl prefers darkness, let’s keep the lights on tonight from 20:30 to 21:30 in solidarity with the Earth Hour campaign. 

From the very beginning, this environmental initiative has raised eyebrows. Unfortunately, it has been quite popular in Ukrainian society. Year after year, social media buzzes with calls for environmental awareness, journalists pen articles championing the cause, and schools host educational events in its honour.


However, after russia’s full-scale invasion, the campaign faded into the background. In March 2023, Ukrenergo, the national power company, appealed to Ukrainians to abstain from participating in the World Earth Hour initiative. Their main rationale? The severe damage inflicted upon Ukraine’s power infrastructure due to missile strikes by the terrorist country called the russian federation.

“Dear friends, please resist the calls to participate in the Earth Hour campaign,” appealed the employees of Ukrenergo NPC to Ukrainians.

But what’s so strange about this campaign?

What’s wrong with conserving our planet’s resources, and doesn’t switching off the lights help save some money? There are, indeed, two reasons for this.

Firstly, the campaign inadvertently promotes wastefulness rather than resource conservation. Power companies don’t know when you switch the lights on or off. To ensure a steady supply of electricity to the population, meticulous consumption measurements and predictive models are crafted to forecast energy usage across the country. 

Consequently, once the data is received, a slightly larger surplus of energy is dispatched to account for unpredictability — after all, it’s impossible to foresee when and which Ukrainian citizen will simultaneously switch both the iron and TV on or off. 

Now, imagine the consequences when surplus energy, produced regardless of global campaigns, isn’t consumed by the population. After a large number of people have switched off their lights for an hour, the surplus energy (leftover fuel) dissipates into the atmosphere as heat. And that’s without considering potential malfunctions at the stations and the added work burden on power engineers.

To better grasp the intricacies, let’s use an analogy. It may not be perfect, but it will have to do. Picture this: you’re tasked with making a fire so that ten people can heat some water in metal cups. You’ve gathered the requisite firewood, lit the fire, only to have half the group declare their intention to conserve the planet’s resources and postpone the water heating procedure. Where does the untapped heat from the fire go? That’s right - straight into the atmosphere. And that’s a real waste, isn’t it? And odds are that they’ll likely want their water heated once the campaign’s over anyway. 

Last year, Ukrenergo NPC underscored this problem, stating: “As we always emphasize, electricity generation must always match user consumption - it’s a law of physics. Simultaneously switching off the lights means momentary reduction in consumption. Should this campaign gain widespread traction, particularly in major regional centres, it could lead to power surpluses in certain areas. To maintain power grid equilibrium, dispatchers may need to dramatically curtail generating capacity — in other words, they will be shutting down operational power units. This is bad even in peacetime; now, with Ukrainian power infrastructure suffering significant damage from russian assaults, it’s a crippling blow. Abrupt shutdowns and re-starts post-Earth Hour constitute unnecessary loads, imperiling the reliability of the power grid.”

The second point lies in symbolism. “It’s not about resource conservation but spotlighting our reckless usage of the planet’s resources,” assert some campaign supporters. Yet, drawing attention to resource issues by squandering them seems counterproductive. Imagine a campaign advocating: “Toss plastic bottles into rivers to draw attention to water pollution.” Preposterous, right? Yet, the inherent absurdity of the Earth Hour campaign, while less blatant, is no less confounding in this case.

Unfortunately, the russian federation persists in massively bombarding critical infrastructure facilities across our country. Today, Sumy, Odesa, Poltava, Kharkiv, Donetsk Regions, and countless other regions face severe power shortages, prompting emergency shutdown protocols. For Ukraine’s populace, it’s important to consume electricity prudently by following the recommendations of energy sector advisories and avoiding unnecessary problems with them. Let’s act wisely and take care of our nation and planet small logo

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