Sunday, March 27, 2011

When the lights go down in the city

Last night was "Earth Hour." For the third year in a row, most casinos on the Strip agreed to turn off their outside lights for one hour. It's some crock of $%&@ about showing their commitment to reducing energy usage and thus saving the planet.

I was playing at Imperial Palace, so I stepped outside a couple of minutes before the bewitching hour of 8:30 p.m. and took some quasi-panorama shots of the Strip before and after the lights went out.

For orientation, I was standing on the curb in front of the junction between IP and O'Shea's, and took these pictures in a nearly 360-degree circle, from left to right. You'll have to forgive a little blurriness; most of the exposures were about 1/5 of a second, which is hard to hold with a small, lightweight camera using no support. And the pedestrians and vehicles, believe it or not, refused to hold still for me. But you'll still get the general idea of how the scenery changed.



As you can tell, some of the casinos were pretty half-hearted about their participation. Not that it matters. The whole thing is completely idiotic posturing anyway. Does anybody seriously believe that Las Vegas casinos care about reducing energy consumption in a selfless act of global altruism? Please.

Let's assume that outside lighting constitutes 10% of a casino's electricity use. (It's probably a lot less than that, but it doesn't matter for my point.) There are 8760 hours in a year, so one hour is 1/8760th of annual power usage, or about 0.01%.

So what the casinos are saying is this: "We are so fully committed to helping out with this terrible problem of global warming that we are willing to reduce our annual electricity consumption by a whole 0.001%. No need to thank us. That's just the kind of generous, caring, giving, self-sacrificial people we are."


lightning36 said...

What -- you don't believe Las Vegas (and hotels in some other cities) are seriously concerned about natural resources when they ask guests to consider not having their towels washed every day? Of course, if guests got some sort of rebate for conserving resources it would look like that was what the businesses were really doing ... lol.

Rosy Fingered Dawn said...

Yea, these token attempts really get under my skin as well. First, they are pretty much meaningless in term of impact, and worse, they become a stand in for real change and reform. Thanks for pointing this out! Wish more people would call these empty jestures what they are.