Saturday, March 28, 2009

anti- Earth Hour !

There has been so much talk about the infamous "earth hour" that I can't help to comment. First of all, the planet and the fight against "global warming" do not need our pity... (or shall I say stupidity)... they require real actions. Attending a concert by candlelight in the city centre, and have some hot dogs on a stick and a couple of drinks does not solve the problem. Switching off the lights for an hour makes little or no difference... that's just self complacence to just "feel" like we're doing something, when we're not. As an awareness campaign... it's just terrible! Let me explain:

I don't recall which TV program it was, but we saw a political-satire about one of those "save Darfur" concerts (or maybe it was "save the earth" or "Live8" ). The guy interviewed some of the people there, and none had any idea about where was Darfur... or what happened there... they were just drunk beyond their physical limit and chanting U2 songs or whatever it was. The point is, the only ones that actually get some benefit from that concert are the ticket re-sellers. After the concert, all that was left were piles of empty containers, bottles, napkins... all that garbage to "save the planet" (?). Go to the live8 website, browse to the media centre, click on "Background information", then click again on "What has been delivered, what is left to do". It will take you to a page that automatically redirects... into nothing! (404 The requested URL /us was not found on this server.) What makes us think that a concert by candlelight in the city centre will actually stop global warming??!

Now, let's talk about that "switching off the lights" thingy. Well... it's just stupid! pseudo-eco-friendly bulbs are not the answer... nor turning off our lights. C'mon! It's the 21st century... not "back to the middle ages"! Until they find another way of powering up our technology, we're stuck with electricity. Or maybe they want us to go back to steam railways and horse trolleys? Do I have to get a hamster to run on a wheel to generate power for my computer? The problem is not about consumption of electricity, as much as it is actually about how is that energy generated. If you are on a nuclear or fossil fuel network... well... maybe it makes sense to "protest" with an "energy boycott" to ask authorities to change to a greener power source. If you are on aeolic or hydroelectric power network, it doesn't make any sense at all to turn off the lights. Still, the point is that we should be asking our governments and power suppliers to update their networks to less (or no) pollutant power sources. We should not give up our right to use electricity...

...but don't get me wrong, I am not endorsing any kind of energy waste. In fact, if we have to switch off something for earth hour, it should be the items on which we are just wasting resources and are "unsustainable". For example: air conditioning. Do you have any idea how much energy is wasted on air conditioning on the malls, cinemas, offices, etc... so cold that people have to wear a jacket to be warm! Isn't that just silly and a waste of energy? I would have loved if instead of turning off the lights of the skytower and casino, they would have switched off the air-conditioning (not the ventilation, just the freezing cold A-C). So... lights are necessary, air conditioning not only consumes a lot of energy (more than the couple of eco-bulbs you just replaced in your house) and it's just superfluous. It's just self complacence, not a real need. If we have to sacrifice something for the planet, then sacrifice something that is not a need. By the way, same story if you have air conditioning in your car... when you switch it on, you're consuming more fuel... polluting a lot... and probably on the way to get asthma or pneumonia.

My alternative to the "earth hour": well, it should raise awareness of the thing that are "actually" causing global warming, or at least polluting the planet. So, earth hour or day, should not focus on turning off lights only... it should have been a comprehensive campaign of real actions to fight pollution. For example:
  • Use of public transport (only) instead of ANY usage of private vehicles on that day.
  • No use of air conditioning on any mall, cinema, store, office building, car or home on that day (or hour).
  • No use of any other "high draining" devices like HDTV, wind blowers, etc.
  • No consumption of beverages or food that comes in PET or tetrapack containers
  • Consume only food that was produced in a 100km radius
  • No consumption of "yellow press", "women's magazines" or any other sort of junk magazines (get your gossip from the internet and save a few trees).
  • Absolutely no plastic bags handed out for free in any store!
  • Ask people to use the spare time they don't spend on that day watching their HDTV sets, or going to the mall (because they actually like to freeze their off), installing a compost thingy in their gardens.
  • Last but not least... "save hot water: take a shower with someone else".
Those are just a few thing that pop into my mind. Those actions would really raise some kind of awareness on things we should do everyday. I must admit that I'm not a very "green" person, there are many things I could or should be doing, but I am too lazy to give up the car, and too far away from home to row on boat instead of taking a plane. But from my perspective putting the blame of the global carbon emissions on the general public and our light bulbs is just propaganda to turn our attention away from the real pollutants: the industry. Making people feel guilty about their electricity usage... and telling them that they will rott in "eco-hell" for not using eco-bulbs is just silly as limbo. Then, they "sell" us the eco-church indulgence that we can "save our souls/ clear our eco-sins" if we turn off the ligths for one hour a year! That's nonsense.

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