Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour

Yes, we're once again asked to "save the world" by participating in an entirely pointless exercise, devised by the very organizations whose existence depends on our belief that doomsday is just around the corner.

So we're supposed to turn off all our lights for an hour, starting at 8:30 pm. Never mind the fact that most people's lights are off every day from dawn to dusk; apparently it's that one hour after dark that'll make the difference. Please also ignore the fact that of all the electrical appliances, lighting probably accounts for the smallest fraction of your average household's electricity use. Furthermore, it'll of course be mostly the energy efficient lamps that will actually be turned off, the lamps of those environmentally conscious people who dumped the common light bulb a long time ago. This will further minimize the already questionable effect of the event.

So maybe it's not about actually reducing energy consumption, maybe it's all about raising awareness about the dire straits the environment is in. However, I'm not aware of any shortness of awareness; with environmental fundamentalists shoving their "Your very existence is destroying the planet; we shall not rest until we control all aspects of people's life, all in the name of nature" message down everyone's throat on a daily basis; and the Government spreading the same message to support the introduction of new taxes and increases to existing rates under the guise of the green hype.

Then, there's the hypocrisy. Oh boy, I don't even know where to start. First of all, organizers must, of course, promote the event. So media conferences are held, interviews arranged, reports on the devastating effects of global warming commissioned. It's probably a safe bet to say that the activities around Earth Hour create "carbon footprint" that outweighs the miniscule reduction in energy usage (if such a reduction even occurs) a couple of times over.

The media aren't exactly adding to the credibility of the event either. No effort, and therefore no energy expenditure) is to be spared to give this honorable project the coverage it deserves. And there's nothing but praise for this wonderful cause on all programs; even the world's most irritating weatherman urges us to "turn off the lights and other non-essential electrical appliances (non-essential? Would that be the gear I usually keep running for no other reason than to send more money than necessary to the lovely folks at the power company?). Yet there's nothing in the TV guide that would suggest that any of the stations will stop broadcasting; as we sit in the dark, we still get to enjoy a choice of football, pommy crime drama, a freak penguin, Johnny gaying up the Caribbean, or young Jack Nicholson joining the Village People Navy.

And of course we mustn't forget the selfless who are so proud to "do the responsible thing"; praised be those who sit in the dark while watching their energy-hungry plasma TV. Others might really get in the spirit and even drive to one of the many Earth Hour activities.

I have no doubt that in tomorrow's news, there will be an abundance of praise for those who seemingly saved the world by participating in a stunt that makes no difference whatsoever. Personally, I was so eager to do my part that I held my own Earth Hour from early morning until just before 6 pm, with no lights or TV on for the entire time. Where's my medal?

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