So Saturday was Earth Hour, and as if anyone reading this blog didn’t know, lights were supposed to be cut off from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. to send a message to mysterious world power that the world was ready to cut down on energy use. Sort of.
I didn’t honor the Earth Hour. We rarely have more than one light on in our home at a time on a daily basis because it’s wasteful and increasingly expensive. I don’t have a million electronic devices running 24/7, we walk to the store when we can (Heather can walk to work) and luckily, my commute is only about 15 minutes a day. In every daily activity, even blogging, I consider the amount of energy I’m using, and how I can minimize my consumption.
Earth Hour’s website claims that the event “inspired millions”, and that:
Earth Hour 2008 made a difference. Millions of people around the world continuing the commitments we have made-changing our lives and encouraging others to do the same-will change the world.
What exactly was the message? That we should turn off our lights for an hour once a year? I know what they were trying to get at, but I don’t think the symbolism was representative of the spirit of conservation. Conservation is a slow, daily process, being mindful of the consequences of your actions. It’s about curbing, not cutting off.
I’m sure that the organizers of Earth Hour had the best of intentions. Unfortunately, events like these become just another billboard for corporate America, giving them an opportunity to hop on the green bandwagon, which seems to be highly marketable nowadays. There’s nothing evil about this. It’s business as usual, but there’s a conflict of ideology between the concept and purpose of marketing and the concept and purpose of conservation. One is a set of persuasive tools to stimulate consumption of a product, while the other is, like I said before, a daily routine of responsibility devoted to consuming less. Perhaps I’m being short sighted, but when you break it down, it seems like we’re giving people mixed messages or perhaps even the wrong message entirely.
I’m all for conservation and good stewardship, but this strikes me as more than a bit silly. Rather than turning your power off for an hour, why not make a commitment to change your life to consume less? An hour is nothing, and even the symbolism of the gesture, sure to be trumpeted as a success by the media and the eco-nuts, is weak at best.
And the second from Vainglorious>:
No, it will *not* send a message to businesses and governments about how serious people are today about the environment. It will send the message that we are a nearly mindless horde of drone [sic] who love our bread and circuses and may just make some sort of symbolic gesture of no lasting practical value. And we may not even do that very well:
“You need not feel pressured to unplug everything”
Jesus. Rather than work on reducing our long term energy consumption habits, you suggest we feel wonderful about ourselves while sitting in the dark for an hour. It sends a message to the powers that be, all right: We are all idiots.
I don’t think people are drones or idiots, but I do believe that we are misguided and give far too much credit to the changing public face of environmentalism to ploys like Earth Hour. The rise in the price of fuel, the crashing large-home market and a looming recession are far more likely to reduce energy consumption in this country.