Apparently one in 7 people took part in this around the world, switching off their lights to symbolically contribute to the global environmental cause.
The really cynical part of me thinks this is a drop in the ocean (hm, rising sea levels?) or even less than that, an empty window dressing, an activity that consumes more energy than saves.
But it’s a bit too easy to be so cynical despite the environmental message getting almost too boring for some. Earth Hour may not save the planet but it is an expression of sorts and a reminder to consume less and generally reduce our footprint to a size that doesn’t quite squash our planet.
Strangely some environmentalists, such as George Marshall, the founder of the climate change network, seem to think that turning off lights is a symbolic disaster as we shouldn’t equate going green with darkness which signals death and decay. I personally don’t think it does that. It reminds me that without too much lighting we might actually get to see the stars instead of basking in our own selfishness and that collective action can happen even if it deprives us of some convenience.
Ironically today there was a huge power outage in Sydney’s CBD, East and inner West, creating a forced Earth Hour of sorts!
Below is a message from the Australian PM, Kevin Rudd, who is enjoying 74% peak in his popularity despite the recession, a record for an Australian PM. His sentiments below are wonderful, but the path towards carbon targets are fraught with difficulty. His 5-10% reduction has also been severely criticised by experts who say Australia needs to achieve a 25-45% reduction by 2020 in order to stay on course towards global harm minimisation. In any case a government has to walk a political tightrope considering the effects of binding targets on a wide variety of constituents. Let’s hope Kevin can pull our weight before and during the Copenhagen negotiations later this year that may decide the future of our planet with carbon emission targets and strategies.
It’s gonna get way harder than switching off the lights for an hour!