Dimmed Strip

They’re turning down the lights on the Strip, and it has nothing to do with not being able to pay the electric bill. From the LVRJ:

Planned marquee outages on the Strip come along about as often as Megabucks jackpots.

And like many of those slot-machine fortunes, lights-out events on Las Vegas Boulevard typically don't last long.

But on March 28, signs and message boards along the Strip — the brightest spot on Earth when viewed from space, the lore goes — will power down for 60 minutes as part of a global event intended to raise awareness of climate change.

Las Vegas is a flagship city for Earth Hour 2009, a World Wildlife Fund movement encouraging individuals, governments and businesses to dim or turn out lights. Casino executives and several local officials, including Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman and Henderson Mayor Jim Gibson, gathered Wednesday at a news conference on the south Strip to talk about Southern Nevada's role in Earth Hour.

ReviewJournal.com – News – Strip to go dark in global event.

Yeah, I got quoted a little further down. And yes, I did use the words “sanctimonious” and “insults the intelligence.” That might be a bit extreme, but it seems like this is just a publicity stunt that’s not going to do much to fight global warming, or global cooling, or whatever climate change we’re supposed to be aware of. It also cheapens the occasions when the Strip lights were dimmed in the past, which have been either to honor someone who helped build Las Vegas in the public eye or to mark a national tragedy. If you start using it for the cause of the week, it doesn’t mean as much when you do it for something important.

On the scale of global outrages, dimming the lights for something some people will find inappropriate is pretty small. But I think there are more immediate problems for Las Vegas, like the dip in tourism. Or water. Or the potential destruction of higher education in the state.

The funny thing is that fewer tourists is actually better for the environment. Flying to Las Vegas is a pretty wasteful expenditure of carbon. The more people who come here, the more fuel burned for transportation, lighting, and heat or cooling. So we don’t want people to be too aware of climate change when they think of Las Vegas. At the very least, there should be a caveat that they shouldn’t change their travel plans because of it. Right? Otherwise, it’s kind of like Pinnacle Atlantic City protesting urban blight or Big Elvis lecturing us on portion control.

Maybe the message should be this: Las Vegas was built on defying nature and the environment, and now that we’re winning there’s no need to start going soft.

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