2009 Update: Here we are again. In support of the right thing to do, Mother Earth, saving the planet, our economy, CO2 is evil and many other popular green trends, a few people and businesses are about to turn their lights off for an hour tomorrow night at 8:30 pm local time. Woo-hoo. Yee-pee. One hour. Maybe.
I am reposting this entry from last year mostly unchanged, since the issues haven’t either. My feelings have sunk, however. I saw how few lights went off last year and have lost my enthusiasm. And I hate movements into which the greater public might take part just because they have been told to, or because the neighbour will do it too. Awareness comes from deeper understanding, not blind participation.
Furthermore, I still inspect any media-originated headline with great suspicion, whether it is about politics or global warming. Of course, the fight against global warming is a good cause and activists are hence the good guys. BUT. I just don’t know any more. What if half of the activist and scientific ranks were as corrupt and misdirected as at least half of the leading ranks are?
Any way, here’s last year’s post. Let’s just do it for the right reasons.
In a coordinated effort for raising awareness while delivering a strong message to the powers that be, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is once again behind the Earth Hour campaign encouraging individuals, organizations and businesses in nearly 200 cities worldwide to turn off their lights between 8:00 and 9:00 pm local time tonight, Saturday March 29th. (March 28th in 2009)
Goal of the exercise: making a statement about Global Warming*, diminishing our energy footprint and having fun. Candles are cool. Darkness can be revealing. And that it will be, at the Vancouver Lookout, where people will enjoy a better view of the city than ever before, weather(!) permitting. As a matter of fact, Canada is said to have the highest anticipated participation rate. In Vancouver, major lights will be turned off on the Olympic flag, City Hall, the Lion’s Gate, Burrard and Cambie bridges, Science World and of course, Harbour Centre.
is such a small step, a few percent of our energy consumption shaved off from one single hour out of almost 9000 in a year. But that’s how we are going to make it. There are no miracle solutions to the problems we are faced with. If mankind is going to win the escalating battle against itself in time to save the planet that supports it, it will be by taking small steps at first, unrelentingly, no matter how small. If each one of us takes a small step simultaneously, we are going forward. If we keep doing it all the time, we will be leaping.
It’s all about awareness. About changing bad habits today. About waking up. And about gathering momentum. More than ever, we have amazing communication tools that can actually let us witness in real time that we are not alone taking small steps. The internet can act as a global live reporter and as such, it has a tremendous role to play in the battle.
We must always be sure to act for the right reasons, not because it is trendy. I support energy saving theories and practices because they make sense. A wasteful lifestyle is definitely a sin, even if only from the point of view of equality: while we waste energy watching crap on TV, others across the world do not even have a hundredth of that energy available to take a shower or cook. Same deal with recycling, limiting pollution and the systematic rape of our natural resources.
However there are those who challenge mainstream ideas about Global Warming and are pointing out a disturbing lack of scientific consensus on CO2 as a planet-heating pollutant. For the sake of our planet and in order to keep an open mind and not to fall into yet another planet-wide manipulation of the masses, we owe it to ourselves to verify our sources and ask questions, and make sure others do, too. Here are two very interesting examples to illustrate this possibility. They are not meant as a call to anarchy or an attempt at trashing the efforts of environmentalists worldwide. They are simply the work of people who like understanding the reasons behind any fashionable trend like the current Global Warming debate, and who have become concerned that, once again, the lust for money and power might find its way all the way up to the top of the news and take control of even the best intentions behind what we have come to accept as our only hope: environmental activism.
The first is an AIM article titled Will Media Expose Global Warming Con Job? which I found recently and that echoed to my own doubts and concerns with surprising volume. My problem isn’t with Global Warming itself, but rather with the fact that I just had to capitalize it. I am extremely worried because just like wars, catastrophes and the sex lives of movie stars, Global Warming sells. It’s worth a fortune to the media world and also potentially to the smartest of international powers. The article above refers to the following New York Times piece, In 2008, a Hundred Percent Chance of Alarm. I quote: "Today’s interpreters of the weather are what social scientists call availability entrepreneurs: the activists, journalists and publicity-savvy scientists who selectively monitor the globe looking for newsworthy evidence of a new form of sinfulness, burning fossil fuels."
Even author Michael Crichton had a go at this angle of things in his recent State of Fear novel; he actually took heat for it – that’s what you get for going against the flow and botching up your research on the topic. But whether he is right or wrong isn’t really my priority. I just like being reminded that not everything always is black and white, and that the media will at times act as a major disinformation tool and become the toy of shadow puppeteers, the ones that really control the world. When a politician wins awards for a documentary on climate change, my alarm signals go off. Those same politicians are waging wars all over the globe and fighting to control the world’s fuel supplies. Why on Earth would they give a damn about the consequences of Global Warming, unless it means that it will, one way or another, yield a substantial influx of green little bills in their hidden pocket.
The bottom line is, let’s do what we feel is right for the environment, and let’s do it now. And tomorrow. And the next day. Let’s fight for it and force a change. But let’s do it for the right reasons. Not because the media tells us that we are in deep shit. Not because Al Gore found a new path to glory by becoming a movie star. Not because we go with the trendy flow and if all the sheep will go green, so will we even though we don’t really understand it. Not because God’s wrath is upon us and doom unavoidable. Not because others say so.
Let’s just do it because in our hearts, it feels like the right thing to do. Let’s be curious about the mechanics of it, let’s look behind the scenes and let us question established facts if they are not supported by evidence. Let’s empower ourselves as the engine of change, rather than just its fuel.