Earth Hour: Little More than a Message

Earth Hour has come and gone. Overall it was pretty successful: the statistic I heard was that electricity consumption in Ontario was down by 8%.

What does that mean? From a pragmatic viewpoint, not a hell of a lot. From a political viewpoint, it’s pretty significant. I don’t have the numbers that project the percentage of the population that participated, based on an 8% reduction, but I’ll guess it’s somewhere between 15% and 25%.

That’s a lot of people sending a message. At this point it seems the big environmental problem is politicians. Most individuals get it, most corporations get it, but the politicians, who can actually manage the process of real change, just aren’t there yet.

Maybe having as many as one in four voters demonstrate their commitment to change through Earth Hour will be enough to wake them up. I’m not holding my breath though. (more…)

Online Shopping versus Traditional Shopping

It’s interesting how often the question of online versus traditional shopping comes up. A friend asked me this earlier today and I gave him the same answer I’ve been providing for a decade now.

These days the response seems reasonable, but back in 1998 it was heresy. It used to be guaranteed to make a room full of start-ups and venture capitalists go dead quiet. Of course back then we were in the middle of the dot-com boom, when somehow geeks who don’t like daylight managed to convince everyone that their concept of a good shopping experience was somehow universal.

So here it is: (more…)