Tonight is Earth Hour 2012!Earth Hour aims to increase awareness of the (negative) impact of electricity on the environment and urge consumers to act together to reduce electricity consumption and thereby contribute to saving the earth.
….. or in the words of the actual Earth Hour organizers:
“Hundreds of millions of people, businesses and governments around the world unite each year to support the largest environmental event in history – Earth Hour. ” (www.earthhour.org)
More than 5,200 cities and towns in 135 countries worldwide switched off their lights for Earth Hour 2011 alone, sending a powerful message for action on climate change. It also ushered in a new era with members going Beyond the Hour to commit to lasting action for the planet. Without a doubt, it’s shown how great things can be achieved when people come together for a common cause. (www.earthhour.org)
….an alternative view of Earth Hour is:
“Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness. ………. It encourages the sanctimonious gesture of turning off trivial appliances for a trivial amount of time, in deference to some ill-defined abstraction called “the Earth,” all the while hypocritically retaining the real benefits of continuous, reliable electricity.” (www.wattsupwiththat.com)
I agree that we need to unite and act and make changes in our resource use and consumption patterns to ensure that we use our resources in a more efficient, equitable and sustainable manner. I also believe that we need to raise awareness and increase the urgency of our actions and end the low- hanging fruit, talk, conference, committee type of actions that are clearly not making much of a difference. We need initiatives that actually make a difference and move away from mere awareness building, and hour-long initiatives.
For me the issue is more that earth hour is close to being seen as a yearly green wash, feel good, drop in the ocean event that doesn’t actually make much difference if we all go back to our normal consumption patterns after the hour of action.
I do understand that the aim is to increase awareness and change electricity use patterns, but how many of us observe the hour, give ourselves a good (green) pat on the back and then carry on with our normal way of life without making worthwhile changes in how we use electricity?
We all need to change our resource use patterns, but is one hour per year really going to help us?
I am not saying don’t support Earth Hour, though I am saying I don’t think a few green washed actions will make much difference! We need to focus our energies on actions and initiatives that actually work and are sustainable!
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