Dearth Hour

Ooh, Earth 60 Minutes!
Ooh, Earth 60 Minutes!

I love the environment. I hate to see it hurt like it’s hurting now. I like the idea of not wasting energy. In fact, I would like to think I am more environmentally conscious than the next person.

But I’m not going to switch off my lights for 1 hour tonight.

Why?

Because I think ‘Earth Hour’ is a joke.

Many people around the world are going to switch off their power for an hour tonight. There are two reasons for this:

1. They think they are saving power.

You are, you know. But at what cost?

How did you even discover Earth Hour? You saw a poster, you read about it online, in the news?

Do you know publicity costs money and materials? There’s a need to print the poster, to ship it to the parts of the world that have decided to participate in it.

If I were the organiser of Earth Hour, I’ll keep it online, maybe use a viral marketing campaign. Something that wouldn’t use up too much resources for publicity. Something that can be integrated into the daily usage of energy, so that publicity doesn’t add an ounce to our totals. I would think the Internet is the best way to do so. Offline, we’re expending more energy publicising, so, the amount of power we are saving, how much will it compensate the amount we used for publicity? Would it even be able to compensate?

Of course, the second reason, since I doubt Earth Hour saves much energy, would be:

2. It is symbolic, to bring awareness to environmental concerns.

Will it do that? Sure, but do we actually still need awareness?

Why shout in our face something that we’ve already known, especially since Live Earth? From my point of view, I saw that global music concert as the turning point in global environmental awareness. It was rather obvious how after that concert, suddenly all our news started to have a greater emphasis on green issues, how our governments started to talk more about environmental conservation, and how companies started to manufacture environmentally-friendlier/energy-efficient products, or at least brought it to the forefront of their advertising.

Back then, people also felt that for something that was bringing environmental awareness, it was also a big waste of energy. Really? At that point in time, we needed environmental awareness, so I do believe the energy used was worth the cost. Look at the world today. Before the economic crisis broke out (since it’s hogging headlines now), the environment was making news all the time (of course, there was the US presidential race, but even environment figured in that to a small extent too). Even now, people haven’t forgotten the environment, it just has taken a backseat to the economy. But at least it’s still in the car.

And the other important point is: what justifies energy usage as waste, or energy used well? I define wasted energy as energy that benefits no one. Well-used energy is energy that has benefited a person or people.

So did Live Earth benefit everyone, other than bringing environmental awareness? Sure, it was a great concert with great music! I enjoyed it! If you love music, I’m sure you did. It rocked, and it brought awareness to boot! Very few complain about the tremendous energy used by music concerts by big acts, because their purpose is to entertain, which they fulfill. Live Earth got some flak simply it had more than one purpose, and neither really was less important than the other.

On the under hand, Earth Hour is simply going to handicap people, making them grope in darkness, or otherwise resort to more energy-inefficient forms of lighting, such as candles or incandescent torchlights, instead of leaving their more energy-efficient fluorescent lights on.

Conclusion:

Want to save the world? Want to save energy?

Incorporate it into your daily life.

  1. Use less plastic and paper bags, use more fabric bags.
  2. Don’t leave your computer idle; if you can’t shut it down, put it on Hibernate.
  3. Don’t dispose paper that has already been used on one side. Use the other side!
  4. There are so many ways.

There’s no point saving energy for 1 hour if you aren’t prepared to do so for the rest of your life.

Don’t be a slacktivist, be an activist.

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4 thoughts on “Dearth Hour

  1. Good points, except that the things you recommend instead are almost as pointless as Earth Hour! Plastic bags account for 1/5000th of the average person’s carbon footprint.

    Three things that will make a bigger difference are to make sure your house is properly insulated and as energy efficient as possible. Use public transport, and avoid flying. And eat as locally and seasonally as you can.

  2. Jeremy,

    The plastic bag suggestion is more towards the saving-of-natural-resources-and-prevent pollution part of environmentalism, but you’re correct about the small carbon footprint, so perhaps it wasn’t the most relevant suggestion, to this post at least.

    Your suggestions are good, though.

    But living in a tropical country, I think I’ll rather not insulate, and let the air circulate. :)

    My country also doesn’t have much local produce; so most of our food is imported.

    And regarding changes in vehicular transport, they’ll work, but I’ll really prefer for them to actually be transformed into green machines than to shun them altogether. I’m actually hoping to help make that a reality when I become a working adult. :)

  3. rachel

    it’s hilarious they said shangrila was participating in earth hr on 27march. commsball happened to be then.. the lights and aircon were on (:

  4. Pingback: The Pointlessness of Earth Hour | Wry Things

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