Friday, March 28, 2008

Earth Hour

I don't get this. I just don't understand it in the least. People turning off their lights for an hour is not going to help stop climate change. Let's be clear on this. What we need is for people to adjust their habits on a DAILY basis. We need people to use their cars less, to use energy less. However, a stunt like this does no more than Live Earth did last summer. It is a stunt, nothing more. Does it raise awareness? If you aren't aware of this at this point, you are living in a cave. What we lack is any sort of agreement on how to deal with this problem in a way that will actually work. This is true both nationally and internationally. Kyoto is dead and dead for a very good reason. Let's stop patting ourselves on the back for stunts and get down to work.

1 comment:

JimBobby said...

Whooee! Well Aaron, I have to disagree. The Earth Hour campaign does raise awareness. It does get people talking. It is front page news in many big papers and news websites.

As well, it allows unrestricted participation by anyone. Live Earth concerts and other events are somewhat exclusive vis-a-vis ticket prices and locations. Anybody can turn off their own lights for an hour with buying a ticket or traveling to s distant stadium.

Stunts may not, in and of themselves, significantly reduce energy use but they do catch attention and help illustrate a problem. I've been cutting down on my energy consumption for decades. As a purely personal effort, I have a modest effect on overall energy use.

I don't put up a sign on my house that says an energy-conscious Canadian lives here. For one hour tonight, I will pat myself on the back for a lifetime of environmental action. I will use that hour to do what I always do between 8 and 9 -- take the dogs out for a 3 mile walk. Tonight, though, I'll be looking at my fellow townsfolk's windows to see how many others are patting themselves on the back.

You are correct that if one is not aware now, they might be living in a cave or similarly out of touch. What we are not aware of, generally, is how many of our neighbours share our concern for the planet. Earth Hour allows us to announce our concern in a harmless, low-key demonstration.

When an election comes, I'll remember to knock on the doors of those Earth Hour participants and campaign for the Green Party. Long journeys start with small steps. The green movement has been gaining strength gradually but consistently for years. Ditto the part that is most concerned with green issues.


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