Only one hour to save our earth?

Earth Hour has come to Toronto. The event has been a fixture in the media and is generating buzz online. But what will the popular initiative accomplish in the long run?

Probably nothing.

For those who are unaware, Earth Hour is on March 29 at 8 p.m (local time), and people in cities around the world are expected to collectively turn off their lights for one hour.

It began last year in Sydney, Australia on March 31 with an estimated two million taking part. There are varying figures on how much power the city saved that hour, but most of the numbers are within two to 10 per cent.

If Toronto and the other 23 participating cities achieve the same results, then what is the point?

Ten per cent of a major city’s power supply might seem like a lot, but consider this for one hour, of one day, of which there are 365 in a year. Even multiplied by 23, the savings still don’t live up to the hype surrounding the event.

So if sitting in the dark for an hour isn’t going to save the planet against the effects of global warming, then what else is going on here?

Earth Hour is also meant to be a symbolic gesture, a protest against wasteful practices and a message to the world about the dire importance of energy conservation.

The message isn’t likely to sink in.

If you have anti-earth tendencies like leaving the lights on, or driving a gas guzzling SUV, taking part in an annual blackout isn’t necessarily going to make an environmentalist out of you.

More than likely, most who take part in Earth Hour will look at them selves as doing their part to save the environment. After which they will go right back to their lazy, anti-eco habits.

Grand gestures like Earth Hour take away from the small, practical things that people need to do on a day to day basis to make an impact.

Earth Hour also brings with it the intense hype that surrounds global warming, a problem perpetuated by environmentalists as an immediate apocalypse.

We are led to believe the world is going to end unless we fork over the cash to buy a hybrid.

Regardless of whether or not Toronto will actually be under water in 10 years, this type of fear mongering is incredibly destructive.

In a social climate where we believe our doom to be immediate, practical thinking and productive solutions go out the window. Instead mass scale publicity stunts like Earth
Hour become the only things we can think of.

We as a global culture need to realize that conservation is as simple as turning down the thermostat a few degrees, or turning off appliances when we’re finished with them.

Earth Hour is a waste of time if we can’t exercise sensible practices during the other 8,759 hours of our year.

About this article

Posted: Apr 3 2008 8:27 am
Filed under: Opinion