World Earth Hour Greenwash at Its Finest

B. McPherson

This is an opinion piece, more of a rant really. Today is Earth Hour. The original concept was to try to have people stop and think about the Earth for just one hour. Think about human’s impact on the environment and how quickly we are using up and trashing the Earth’s resources. Just one crummy hour out of your life. How hard is that?

What has it become? A silly frenzy of turning off the electric lights for an hour. Maybe going out for dinner by candlelight. Maybe sitting in front of the fireplace and a battery powered radio playing inspiring music and indulging in some imported wine. Some people are even gathering to light bonfires during this time of reflection.

Then what? Turn the lights back on, have a nice hot shower. Finish off the wine and turn on the TV to see how others have thought about the damage we’re doing so we can feel good about “saving the planet”. This attempt to have think seriously about the future of our environment is to save ourselves. The planet, as George Carlin so aptly put it, is doing fine. It’s us that are in danger of going extinct.

For a real change in the direction that we are travelling, we must reduce our dependence on non-replaceable resources. It will take far more than an hour out of a year, it will take a lifetime. People need to think and act in ways that have less impact on the planet, asking relevant questions about their personal consumption.

Want to get serious about saving humanity? Ask yourself
  • Are those candles you burned made from locally produced beeswax or are they the product of Big Oil? Did they get manufactured in China and shipped here using more petroleum products. How much plastic wrap do you use every day?
  •  What about the food you eat? That’s easy to modify. You can switch to an all plant diet or reduce the amount of flesh you eat. Do you support the festering conditions of industrial meat and egg production? You can eat seasonally and locally.
  • Think about your clothing purchases. Are you buying petroleum products to put on your back? – polyester, nylon, acrylic? Was the cotton harvested by slave labour and sewn in sweat shops?

There are a myriad small but effective ways to modify our behavior yet maintain our luxurious life. It’s many people taking many small actions that will turn this situation around. 

Oh, but that’s so boring compared to burning candles and feeling warm and fuzzy.

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