Google “Doing Their Part” For Earth Hour

Seen today:


“Earth Hour” is a worldwide event where individuals are asked to shut off their lights for an hour. Ineffectual, pointless, but that’s what we need to do “for the planet”.

So what does Google do? Do they run some of their servers in a lower-power mode, perhaps sacrificing the speed of search results in order to reduce energy use? Nope. Do they even do the politically correct but economically idiotic idea of buying “carbon offsets” for the energy they use for that hour? Nope. Does blackening their home page even save energy? Nope. In fact, outside of changing a few lines of very simple code, it doesn’t appear that this gesture has taken any effort at all.

What have they accomplished? Well, they’ve “raised awareness”. Good work, fellas, because without Google, I may never have known about the idea of conservation!

What a joke.

Others covering this: Don Boudreaux & Billy Beck

  • VRB

    I guess you will never be one of those parents who says “turn the lights out” or “close that refrigerator door.”

  • Brian T. Traylor


    Your suggestion is a red herring. Turning out the lights and closing the refrigerator door have an immediate bottom line impact on the monthly power bill. Google blackening their homepage to “raise awareness” is as useless as tits on a bull.

  • Brad Warbiany


    Brian has it right. If they’re paying the electric bill, they can decided whether or not to leave the lights on. As long as I’m paying the electric bill, I’ll tell them to conserve their usage.

  • Tunney

    My room-mate, a “progressive” (don’t ask me how that happened! haha) said she wanted to turn off all power in the house, via the breaker box. I told her, “if you want to be a part of this idiotic moment, do so! But don’t try to moralize and proselytize your socialist agenda with me!” Boy, was she pissed! She told me how I am a selfish person and am the reason our country is so impoverished. Impoverished? I thought we were the most prosperous nation in the world.

    Anyway,she went into “Bush derangement syndrome” and accused me of supporting our current president… how does a libertarian support Bush?
    I told her, “let’s do some simple math.” I showed her through simple multiplication and division, how during the “earth hour” moment, I spent a whopping 4.75 cents, by keeping my bedroom light on. I then told her I would pay for this atrocity and she could dream tonight about how she could spend this hefty sum.

    Of course, (and this is of no surprise to those who deal with “progressives,”) that my figures were done incorrectly and I am just a shill for big industry.

    I can’t make this up, folks. But then, stereotypes do come from somewhere.

  • Nitroadict

    Tell her to put down Naomi Klein, and pick up a coloring book.

    Learning to draw within the lines & master one’s motor skills can do a world of difference for one’s ability to use logic.

  • VRB

    Ya’ll are way to serious.

  • Bree

    Will you people please calm down and stop being so hard to please? Yes, you are right-Google could have done more. What did you do? Did you actually stop using your electricity for a whole hour? It wasn’t about saying money on your bill-it was about trying to change things and educate people. Do you know how many “regular” people use Google? Do you realize that they could have inspired people from their action? You complain about things staying the same and yet you complain about any effort to change things.

  • Doug Mataconis


    During Earth Hour I had every light on the first level of my home ON as well as the television and DVR. It was quite a lovely evening.

    And, oh yeah, I turned the setting on the freezer down a few notches to make sure it ran for the entire hour.

    In other words, I didn’t participate in this phony gesture.

  • Tammy

    Doug you are disgraceful and should be ashamed of yourself.

  • tarran

    Why should he be ashamed of himself?

    He paid for the power he consumed. It’s not like he stole it from other people.

    Who are you, Mullah Omar? If you want to live in the stone age, you are free to do so. But screaming “shame, shame” like some Jerry Fallwell or some misogynistic Saudi imam because you disapprove of how others live their lives will only get you mocked.

  • Rob

    if it wasn’t for google’s home page, I would have never known what earthday is…i wouldn’t have turned or my lights for an hour either…

  • Kyle

    I figured it takes less energy for a screen to make a black background rather than a white background. I mean, black is an absense of colour.

    As for Tarran, you’re a bitch. You keep dropping all these fucking names, making fun of someone who cares.

    And, Tammy, you probably shouldn’t “shame” people for what they do. It’s kind of a dick move too. I admit, it’s a little immature for people to mock a protest, but if you want them to respect what you do, respect what they do.

  • someguy

    The fact of the matter is, yes, Google could have done more. But, I’m sure that their main idea was to actually raise awareness. Take it with a grain of salt… all they really wanted to do was let people know about it. As for your ignorant ideas of turning on more lights and turning up your freezer, its people like you that should seriously reconsider their ideals. Its not to save a few pennies, but to help out the environment a bit. I’m sure that you too are one of those people that throws their garbage out the window as you drive down the street and doesnt recycle. But, go ahead, complain, make yourself look like even more of a lowly person… keep driving your big SUV… but dont let me see your sorry face on the news complaining about how high your gasoline prices are either. But, think about this… think about all the things you have already bought today that are conserving energy… your fridge, your stove, your freezer… even your tv and computer. Whether you like it or not, you have been lured into the idea of energy conservation whether you like it or not. So suck it up, and stop complaing about other people who are actually trying to make a bit of a difference rather than sitting on their _ _ _ !

  • Unknown

    Asses has five letters

  • Quincy

    “I figured it takes less energy for a screen to make a black background rather than a white background.”

    Not anymore. While this was true in the days of the hulking CRTs, the majority of monitors out there now are LCDs, meaning that any color takes the exact same amount of energy to produce since the LCD is just filtering the light output from a backlight.

  • Rox (in da head)

    Isn’t it wonderful how one movement can bring the masses together to “agree to disagree?” Thank goodness for free speech, no matter what you believe in!

  • tarran


    If there is one thing that religious fundamentalists can’t stand is having their balloons popped.

    Seriously though, you fans of energy conservation are great. Thanks for making the power I consume cheaper by reducing your demand. ;)

  • someguy

    Thats quite funny, because despite our efforts to reduce energy consumption, the price still seems to climb! I wonder why? Once again… someone speaks from their ass and not thinks with their head.

  • ShyOne

    Can you tell me exactly how you know that Google didn’t do anything for conservation? Do you work there? My husband works there, and Google happens to be one of the most Earth-friendly companies I have heard of. They even surpass the Starbuck’s Support Center in Seattle. I won’t say what Google does for our environment, because I don’t need to…the whole point was to raise the awareness of the masses…to demonstrate to everyone how simple a change can be, and how, on a global scale, it can make a difference.
    Spend your money however you like, that is your choice. Just realize that the rest of us will stay our course, as that is our freedom.

  • Brian T. Traylor

    I won’t say what Google does for our environment, because I don’t need to…

    Actually, this was the whole point of the post and the ensuing comments, so it would be helpful. Would you care to elaborate on what an eco-friendly company Google is?

  • tarran


    The reason why the price of energy keeps climbing is due to a combination of
    a) increased demand due to growing population/increased wealth creation throughout the world
    b) increased political instability due mainly to the U.S. government’s war/interventions in energy markets
    c) the plummeting value of world currencies due to inflationary central bank policies, especially on the part of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

    Most energy consumption is non-discretionary. Organizations such as steel-mills, refineries, hospitals cannot moderate how much power they consume. In the end discretionary energy consumption, such as turning off a few lights in houses as part of this publicity stunt will probably not even make a noticeable reduction at power generation facilities.

    with that being said, I doubt google really turned off the lights like they claimed on their web-page. Furthermore this idea that energy consumption is ruining the earth that the proponents of this publicity stunt are pushing reminds me more and more of some millenial cult predicting the end of the world unless people return to some older, purer way. That of course, pisses me off. It’s been several generations since a woman died in childbirth in my family, and I would like to keep it that way.

  • Nitroadict

    The massive naivety of the assorted environmentalists, greens, leftists, etc. only further reminds me why feminism failed. Sadly, none of them are going to use their “open-minds” to admit their arrogance anytime soon.

    But hey, at least they’re turning off light bulbs. If nothing else, I’m sure the roaches in their lower-middle class apartments nearby the liberal arts theater appreciate it though. We should, after all, think of the insects, and not just the children, earth, etc.

  • Doug Mataconis


    I’m actually quite proud of myself.

    It was quite an enjoyable Saturday evening, with a nice bottle of wine and family.

    And, since all the lights were on, I could actually see what the crap I was doing.

  • VRB

    On a more serious note. To you scientific geeks, do you remember entropy or finite. It may not come to the end of the world in your life time, but I don’t see how anyone turning out their own lights would put a burden on you. It doesn’t have to be doomsday, but there will become a time when there will be no fossil fuel, (check out the word fossil), finite. To encourage creative invention now, would give man a better chance for the future. We never know how much time it takes for any technology to be discovered. The science of the twentieth century is still sustaining us. How long will that last? Entropy?

    Luddites are you!

  • tarran


    Please don’t bring up entropy again… The Earth is an open thermodynamic system, and the laws about entropy always increasing apply only to closed systems. Leave the misapplication of thermodynamics to the fundies who can’t stomach the notion of evolution.

    Now to the main point, as petroleum reserves do start running out (and given the fact that proven petroleum reserves have been increasing this could be a century away), the rise in prices will make other forms of energy economical and provide a great deal of incentive to identify alternate sources of energy. And yes, as prices go up, people will start to conserve energy in earnest. That’s what prices do, they signal the relative scarcity of something.

    Thus, these demands that people be forced to restrict consumption are not effective. They do not encourage innovation. They merely make the energy industry more rigid and less innovative while time-shifting problems slightly into the future.

    All the government subsidies encouraging uneconomical energy production and consumption, such as ethanol or the construction of hybrid vehicles etc, are counterproductive. We who oppose them are not luddites. rather, we understand economics. We recognize that these publicity stunts, especially ones that seem to equate energy consumption with sinfulness, are the modern equivalent of Pat Robertson blaming Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans’ debauchery – the superstitious bleatings of yet another doomsday cult.

    The governemtn’s plans to encourage alternate energy development will turn out to be like the U.S. ogvernemnt’s efforts to encourage wider interstate commerce in the early 19th century. Back then, the federal govt invested heavily in a network of canals that took decades to build and siphones massive quantitites of tax-dollars out of the treasury. In the end the canal network was never really used. Why? Because by the time they were finished, railroads had been invented, and the canal had been made obsolete. just think how much better off we all would hav ebeen had that money not been thrown away on such a futile venture, if the workers had actually worked on projects that were useful instead of wasting their labour on producing something that is so useless that people barely know they exist?

    Much of the tax money that will be spent on these efforts will go to waste. You may think that is progress. I don’t.

  • ShyOne

    It is not Google’s policy to advertise what they do for the environment, however, here is the link to a taste of the projects Google is involved in at this time.
    Going back to my original point, what they did was to raise awareness. Which is exactly what they did.
    It seems a bit short-sighted to comment on something that you don’t know as fact.
    “Advancing Green Technology
    In addition to reducing Google’s carbon footprint, we’re also working to accelerate improvements in green technology. In May 2007, with an eye toward bringing solar power into the mainstream, we switched on 9,212 solar panels at our Mountain View headquarters – one of the largest corporate installations in the United States. Then, to encourage the commercialization and adoption of plug-in vehicles (and reduce CO2 emissions, cut oil use, and stabilize the electric grid) launched the RechargeIT initiative in June 2007. During the same month, we also announced the formation of the Climate Savers Computing Initiative (CSCI), an industry consortium working to make the design and use of computers more energy-efficient.”

  • VRB

    I see you don’t understand analogies or allusions.

  • VRB

    I said what I said, since you presume to think I don’t know what entropy is.

  • ShyOne

    It’s interesting that there aren’t any more sarcastic accusatory comments on here about Google. I trust I made my point?

  • Mister Snitch

    It’s encouraging to see that some people recognize this sort of self-congratulation for what it really is.

  • ShyOne

    Self-congratulation? Is that because I made a valid point on a bulletin board? Oh, no! What was I thinking?