Why do we have an Earth hour? The earth is going to be here for billions of years, long after we are all gone. I guarantee it. If we pollute the world, to the point of no return and all human life ceases to exist, the planet will continue until the sun grows into a red giant star and consumes it.
Earth hour is, for all intents and purposes, totally selfish. It pretends to be altruistic, but in reality its not. It’s slacktivism assuaging the guilt the West has for being “have” nations while providing a big marketing platform for the WWF and it’s sponsors.
Toronto reported a whopping 15.15% drop in power usage during the last Earth day, but the rest of Ontario reported only a 6% drop. Why do you think that is? One possible reason for the vast difference is the fact that the office buildings in downtown Toronto turned off their lights. That alone must save millions of watts of energy every night and thousands of bird’s lives. Why the city doesn’t enforce this every night is beyond me personally I would make it mandatory. Of course, this is the same city that allows stores to keep their doors open in the Summer while blasting air conditioning.
Vancouver, the supposed granola eating capital of the country recorded only a 1.1% drop in energy usage. Are we to believe that the people in Vancouver care less about the environment than the people in Toronto? Perhaps the reason Toronto seems to respond so much better to the campaign was that one of the official sponsors of Earth hour is the Toronto Star, so there was local promotion in the newspaper. Funny, I wonder how much energy it takes to produce a single newspaper? Perhaps we should save the environment by only getting our news online.
Leo Burnett, the advertising agency who developed the whole idea has an office in Toronto, so perhaps that helped promotion. Leo Burnett also has a client roster that includes companies like McDonald’s and Nike. How environmentally concerned can you be when one of your clients cuts down rain forests to inject cheap cattle and the other employs child labour? Honestly the whole thing smacks of hypocrisy.
To raise awareness for Earth Hour 2009 during the week leading up to it, Arla Foods coloured their Swedish milk cartons black-grey, as distinct from the typical white-green. Question: How much more ink do you think printing the entire thing in black takes? Answer: Who cares it’s good advertising!
I’m not the only one who takes issue with the whole idea of Earth Hour feel good slacktivism.
The Ayn Rand Institute wrote, “Participants spend an enjoyable sixty minutes in the dark, safe in the knowledge that the life-saving benefits of industrial civilization are just a light switch away… Forget one measly hour with just the lights off. How about Earth Month… Try spending a month shivering in the dark without heating, electricity, refrigeration; without power plants or generators; without any of the labor-saving, time-saving, and therefore life-saving products that industrial energy makes possible.”
The truth is, Earth Hour is a big advertising circle jerk. Sponsors get their logos plastered all over town (and get to write it off as tax-reducing donations) and the WWF gets more exposure and more dollars in their coffers.
So this Earth Hour, rather than sitting in the dark with the lights off feeling smug, why don’t you do something that really matters like make a donation to KIVA.