Another year, another day when what I consider to be one of the most hypocritical events of the year takes place – Earth Hour. The well-oiled marketing machinery run by World Wide Fund for Nature and other environmentalist radicals would’ve ensured you’d have heard of it.
The concept behind this is that people across the globe pledge to switch off lights for one hour on a specified day “to raise awareness about energy consumption and climate change“. Which is indeed a noble objective, except that this form of quick-fix activism usually means the participants get a false sense of having ‘achieved something’ without really making any change.
In the larger scheme of things, what really does switching off lights for one hour going to accomplish? Not much. Being aware, using energy-efficient devices when you can is going to help. Don’t get me wrong – many people who participate in Earth Hour would be aware enough to do these things too. But when you bring a mass-market campaign, you risk giving a lot of people that false sense of having made changes. Here’s a typical call exhorting people to participate:
All you have to do is switch off all the lights at your place for one hour starting 8:30 pm (your local time). That’s it!
This is similar to joining a Facebook group ‘fighting for removing world hunger, poverty, and bringing unicorns back’, or ‘clicking to feed a child in Haiti’. And Earth Hour. These actions require such a small amount of effort from our end, but don’t have any measurable, tangible impact. What you have, instead, is chest-thumping cries afterwards of having ‘done my bit to save the planet’.
Want proof? Look at all those holier-than-thou comments flowing like a river on Twitter. Take, for instance, ‘countries and cities participating in Earth Hour 2010‘. Pray, tell me where these countries / cities have officially signed up for such a thing? Promotional material behind the event gives an indication of this mindset too. Watch this video below.
Sorry to break your bubble, but last year’s Earth Hour was not “the biggest action ever on climate change”. It’s the countless number of people and corporations who bother to make informed decisions every day who deserve that title. That’s what we need, not a bunch of hippies burning candles and dancing for an hour.