Earth Hour: "60 Minutes of Darkness to See the Light"
A quick Google for Earth Hour produces nearly 7000 hits in the news section alone, so why am I adding to the deluge? Earth Hour is probably WWF's most successful campaign. Like most successful campaigns it has become a movement in its own right. Many businesses want to associate themselves with Earth Hour. City councils are eager 'to switch off' for an hour. It has garnered scores of celebrity support.
It has even prompted UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to say, “Let us join together to celebrate this shared quest to protect the planet and ensure human well-being. Let us use 60 minutes of darkness to help the world see the light.” It has gather political support from UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.
Hundreds of millions of people in 133 countries and territories across the globe are expected to switch off their lights at 8:30pm local time tomorrow, Saturday 26 March. In a series of video messages posted to YouTube, world leaders have pledged their support for the world’s largest voluntary environmental action. People will be holding al fresco gigs in candle-light. Every guy with a guitar will be singing 'Heal the World' for that one hour of glorious darkness. Then we all go home...
There will still be places in the world plunged in darkness because there simply isn't enough resources to generate electricity whilst in another part of it, there will still be an obscene waste of it. Regular 'load-shedding' in India means power outages that last up to three hours a day that not only affect business productivity but also affect the study timetables of millions of children. The country is in the midst of final examinations for school leaving and summer is fast approaching - lack of electricity means lack of sleep or not enough revision time. Whilst in Las Vegas both Lady Gaga and Britney Spears are said to light up the already lit up Strip.
Earth Hour is great as it affirms that people can come together for the common good. It makes you feel like you're doing something worthwhile with your time. But seriously, an hour? The Earth needs more than hour of serious, consolidated effort to mitigate current levels of damage and even then, we don't know. Not to be a total party-pooper, but Earth Hour on some level encourages mass hypocrisy. It makes people believe that environmental consciousness is something you can pen into your social calendar. The time for raising awareness is well past us. It is time now, for action. It is time for the greatest kind of courage to fight what is possibly a losing battle.
So today I wish for every hour to be Earth Hour, every day to be Earth Day. Find me a campaign that encourages that. Because really, it shouldn't be any other way.
Photo Credit: Earth Hour Poster. WWF ©