Earth Hour is happening again on March 27th. I have argued before that it is a bad idea, and I stand behind that assessment. I think it propagates faulty beliefs over what needs to be done, and what sort of tactics can succeed.
One more reason why Earth Hour is counterproductive is that it feeds naturally into one of the most common arguments against action on environmental issues: namely, that environmentalists just want to shut down everything people rely upon and enjoy. Turn the lights out, ban travel, etc. They may ask you to do it voluntarily for an hour, but they really want to force it on you forever. That’s how the Conservative Party portrayed the Kyoto Protocol – as though meeting it would mean shutting down a third of all of Canada’s energy use overnight.
Dealing with climate change does require us to change behaviour, and the ethics considerations everyone needs to make now must take climate change into account. That being said, the solution doesn’t lie with shutting everything down, but rather with replacing the energy basis of our society with one that is clean and renewable, leaving most remaining fossil fuels unburned. I don’t see how Earth Hour helps us move in that direction.