Friday, March 20, 2009

Earth Hour. What is all the fuss about?

Vote earth, your light switch is your vote!

Call me a cynic but if thats the case Earth Hour marks everything that is wrong with elections.

Now don't get me wrong. A billion people turning off everything for an hour, particularly if they are the billion people in the world who are the worlds greatest energy consumers, WILL no doubt lead to a significant reduction in power consumption and all the greenhouse effects that that process entails...for one hour. But WHAT are we voting for?

Some would argue that success of the campaign isn't based on how much energy it saves, which is significant..for one hour, but on the ability to foster a greater sense of awareness amongst people and perhaps more importantly to impart a sense that we can make a difference as individuals. An absolutely noble and justifiable intention by my reckoning. But the irony is that the success of the campaign essentially also reiterates what the fundamental core of the global warming problem is, our apathy.

A billion people turn off their lights together and thats apathy?What am I on?!

Earth Hour is a cultural phenomenon..its cool...and everybody's going to be doing it. (So was the Free Love movement of the late 60's and early 70's... up until people found out about STD's...) with the reduction of green house emissions (that one hour) being a default result, rather than an intended one.

We individuals believe that we are making a difference because hey, even oil conglomerates like Petronas are getting onboard by turning off the twin towers for an hour! Thats cool and saving the planet right??!.... now if the Americans would just sign up for the Kyoto protocol too we could all hold hands and sing kumbaya...

The fact of the matter is, Earth Hour fails to save the planet (overambitious KPI so what did they expect! =P) because by becoming a focal point for people to express their undying support to the cause, for an hour, does it really instill a sense of concern for the planet and an appreciation for what we can do on a day to day basis? Or is it JUST a massive "Turn off your lights when you leave the house" campaign? (Which you do one hour in year and pat yourself on the back about for the remaining 8759 hours)

On top of that, how many people would have Googled Earth Hour to learn more about what it is? (I just did =P) Did you know that every time you make a google search you are essentially using up as much energy as it takes to boil two kettles of water? (This came out in a research study that was posted up by the BBC...will add the link if I can find it) Heh, how many Twitters out there do you reckon will be saying something like "I'm turning my lights off for an hour".. are they thinking about how much energy is going into making that critically important message?(Especially if your using your handphone..thats you and 60,000 other people if your Ewan Williams) Does anyone fully appreciate what their carbon footprint really is?

Are we really voting for anything with Earth Hour? Will the governments of the world look at how dark the planet becomes for one hour (it wont actually as the lights out will be staggered due to time differences) and go "omfg aaargh we must reduce our carbon emissions!"

Or are we just letting out one massive collective, "Gargh!" Meaningless but feels pretty darn good...

So what will I be doing at 8.30pm on the 28th of March 2009? Yea I'll be turning everything off for an hour and looking for a good spot to take a picture of blacked out KL. (YES I KNOW IM USING PETROL BY DRIVING INTO THE CITY) Because Earth Hour might not help in the long run, but it would'nt hurt either... besides lost causes are what we Marxist live for =P

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