It seems that I underestimated the effectiveness of Earth Hour last Saturday evening, based on observations in Sydney's southern suburbs. True, our Anglican Church, which has a youth service and dinner on Saturday evening, turned off its lights and had dinner by candlelight, but not many houses seemed to take part.
But even though only 65,000 houses and 2,000 organisations registered to participate, polls indicated more than 2 million people (half of Sydney's population) switched off their lights, with many turning off appliances and TVs as well.
Estimates of the overall impact are still being made, but in the normally brightly-lit CBD offices, entertainment venues, advertising signs and public icons like the Harbour Bridge and Opera House had lighting turned off, and energy usage for that hour was estimated to be 10% reduced. For photos and details, see the Sydney Morning Herald's report.
The originators of the idea, environmental organisation WWF, hailed the first Earth Hour as a success, and foreshadowed a world-wide Earth Hour in 2008.