Allow me to preface this post with the declaration that I care about the environment. I support the CO2 tax and want it to continue, because it’s a small sacrifice for a good cause. I catch the train to work, I only drive on the weekends and we don’t consume much in terms of power or gas. We installed solar panels so that we can take advantage of the sun’s energy, rather than relying solely on grid power. We have tank water for flushing toilets and watering the garden. We don’t go out and buy a new iPhone every single year. But one thing really irks me, and it is the feigned environmentalism of Earth Hour.
Unless you’ve been living underneath a totalitarian regime that doesn’t have enough power generation for the population, you will know that Earth Hour is an annual worldwide event where everybody is encouraged to switch off their non-essential lights for an hour on a Saturday night to send an environmental message. What irks me is that this act of short term symbolism is, by and large, the only time a great number of people will think about their environmental footprint.
That anyone has to actively think about their environmental footprint during an appointed time is sort of like doing homework you should have finished last week during detention. Surely some effort should be made in the intervening time to reduce their energy and resource consumption without some sort of annual guilt trip. The change in the amount of energy consumed is bugger all compared to the base load on the grid, let alone peak demand. Seriously, does anyone think that switching off some lights make an impact compared to turning on the six enormous light towers the MCG uses for a football match?
If preserving the environment is about the reduction in use of non-renewable sources of energy and materials, as well as stopping, as much as possible the use of dangerous chemicals, then surely there are many ways to do so in our lives and around the house without having to break the bank. Either way, during the next Earth Hour, I’ll join Jeremy Clarkson in turning ON everything in the house, simply because I hate stupid ideas.