3.29.2008

why earth hour is not stupid

People for whom activism is a way of life have a tendency to scoff at one-off efforts like Earth Hour. These sorts of events can seem so paltry, and short lived, and gimmicky. And perhaps they are all those things.

But when you know a lot of people who are not activists, and who never talk about the environment, and freely admit that they never think about energy conservation, and then you see how a one-time event make them do all those things - that is, how an event raises their awareness - it seems a lot less stupid.

And when you take into account how helpless and overwhelmed most people feel about any efforts to make change - the fatalistic "nothing can be done" refrain - and then you see how a one-time event gets them involved, it starts to seem pretty clever.

Plus this morning I saw Rex Murphy hates it. So I thought, they must be on to something.

10 comments:

Nancy said...

One Day is not enough.

One hour Per Day is starting something.

L-girl said...

Definitely not enough. I'm just seeing that it's not stupid.

James said...

One Day is not enough.

Not enough to have an impact on energy use; but it may be enough to have an impact on how people think about energy use, which is actually more useful...

L-girl said...

Yes, I think James has made my point about why it's not stupid. It helps people think about their energy use. It causes people to feel more responsible for their own energy use. It gives people a feeling of ownership - of the ability to do something positive.

David Toronto said...

Come 8 pm and there will be a good number of people seeing out their window what all the others are doing and fall into line with their neighbours.

"Golly, look Doris, I can see Orion's belt from the living room window."

Now, if only we could bring back the birds to the cities.

M@ said...

I think one of the positive effects of this idea is that, to turn off your lights for an hour, you have to change the way you think -- what is the least power I can get away with? What do I have on all the time?

SuMei and I did notice that we had more lights on than we needed. We don't use more power than we need to -- we usually think. It showed us that that was not the case.

Turning off the lights for an hour is a tiny gesture. If it makes you cut your electricity usage by a couple of percent a year, though, it's worth doing.

I wouldn't think less of my neighbours for not participating. I can only control what I do. Looking down on the neighbours doesn't help. There are far more positive things I can do, before and after earth hour.

impudent strumpet said...

Is that all it is? Awareness? Are there really people who aren't aware that energy should be conserved? Not only would they have to have been living in cryogenic stasis since the 1960s at least, but they'd also have to be so wealthy that they don't even notice the amount on their utility bills.

L-girl said...

I could never say "is that it?" about awareness. Awareness is the beginning of any change. Increased awareness is the beginning of any greater change. It's the sine qua non of progress.

James said...

Are there really people who aren't aware that energy should be conserved?

There are, but they aren't the targets. The targets are people who aren't aware that energy can be conserved without really disrupting their lives (a lot of anti-conservation arguments are built around the idea that conservation would lower living standards).

L-girl said...

The targets are people who aren't aware that energy can be conserved without really disrupting their lives

That's a good point.

Also, people who believe in some kind of theoretical way that energy should be conserved but haven't ever done anything about it. There are a lot of those.

And, as M@ pointed out, we all could do a little more, and this helps us think about how.