It’s been unusually warm and dry in Alaska and in Utah this winter and freezing and snowy in the Northeast. I’d like to get rid of the term Climate Change or, worse, Global Warming and start calling what seems to be happening in our world these days Climate Chaos. That’s my term and that should be your term. Maybe if we all start using it people will start paying attention. Weather Chaos would be even better since it dumbs it down a notch but it’s not as catchy. Say it, live it breathe it – “Climate Chaos“. Apparently I didn’t invent the term, though I thought I did, but I love it as if it were my own.
I’ve been thinking on this for quite a while and although there are some nifty things we could do to solve Climate Chaos like driving electric cars, implementing hugely complicated and controversial carbon tax credits or installing more public transport, I wanted to suggest some very simple, very basic things you and everyone else can do now with little or no investment of funds, no new inventions, no research, no real lifestyle change and very little time commitment. A couple of these have to do with the double standard we have for commercial spaces and residential spaces. What we’d never do at home, we seem to do regularly in our commercial buildings. I’ll put these in 5 separate blog posts since we’re all short on time and attention these days. This is my favorite suggestion.
1. TURN OFF NONESSENTIAL LIGHTS AT NIGHT – EVERY BUILDING, EVERY CITY, EVERY TOWN, EVERYWHERE. Why is this so difficult? If every city in the world agreed to turn off the lights in their commercial buildings at night when not in use from midnight to 5:00am (other than those absolutely necessary for safety of pedestrians and aircraft and any used by cleaning staff or employees who are actually using them), we’d probably solve the climate crisis right then and there. Yes, cities are pretty at night, but when we’ve got no food or water due to climate chaos, that will be a luxury we’ll look back on as ridiculous. Not to mention the fact that all of this light pollution interferes with the circadian rhythms and migration patterns of birds and wildlife. See Dark Sky for more information about that. You don’t leave 20 lights blazing in your house all night, why do it in your office? Paris, The City of Light, enacted legislation in 2012 to turn off the lights and is saving 250,000 tons of greenhouse gases annually. That’s the equivalent of 750,000 homes. If Paris can do it, why can’t we?
Honestly if the UN wanted to be useful in any meaningful way they would pass an international resolution on this issue. It will do more for global security in terms of keeping climate chaos at bay (and the potential for world instability) than anything the UN can do with all the peacekeeping forces in the world. Turning out non-essential lights doesn’t hurt anyone and could save millions of tons of greenhouse gases. Why is this so difficult?
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Talk to the property management company at the building where you work and find out why the lights are on at night and what can be done about it. Ask them how much money owners would save in a year by turning the lights out at night. Tell everyone you know to do the same via social media. If you live in New York City, tell your local representative that you support Queens Councilmen Donovan Richard’s Lights Out Legislation which is Bill No. 578. This bill exempts iconic NY landmarks, holiday lighting, etc., but would save hugely on emissions. At the very end click WIN on this Buzzfeed Post I wrote about Councilman Donovan Richards. If you don’t live in New York, ask your local representative to introduce similar legislation in your city. Make it a lights out movement. It’s not controversial, it’s smart.
EASY, EFFECTIVE, SMART, SAVES MONEY, DONE!