Internet Users Ignored Earth Hour
The much ballyhooed March 28
Earth Hour called for individuals, businesses and governments across the
globe to turn off unused appliances and computers for 1 hour as a show of
support for climate change action. The World Wildlife Foundation, the sponsor
of the event, went so far as to call Earth Hour "the world's first-ever
global vote about the future of our planet."
Internet users, it seems, could not have cared less.
The monitoring service Pingdom, which tracks 35,000 sites and servers across 125 countries, measured Internet activity during the Earth Hour time range. Compared with the same period for the three previous weeks, Pingdom found no decrease in Internet use.
"There was no noticeable difference, which means that Earth Hour had no impact on the Internet," Pingdom wrote on its blog. The company was disappointed with the results.
"The Internet today takes up a significant amount of the global power output and considerably more of our collective attention," Peter Alguacil, a Pingdom Web analyst, said in a statement. "All servers and web sites are not business critical, and we sincerely wish more companies, organizations and individuals will join us in pledging to shut down any infrastructure they can spare next year to make Earth Hour 2010 a virtual event as well as a physical one."
According to an AMD-sponsored study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, power for servers and their cooling equipment took up 1.2 percent of the entire U.S. power consumption in 2005 at a cost of $2.6 billion. The numbers don't include power for data storage and network equipment.
Pingdom promised to shut down as much as possible without compromising its main monitoring and notification services for Earth Hour 2010, and urged individuals and Internet companies to do the same.
"Earth Hour is intended to mobilize and manifest support for action on climate change. What if Facebook, after notifying users, decided to shut down for 60 minutes next year? That would be an unprecedented global manifestation in itself," said Alguacil.