Like the year previous I and my daughter went down to Harmony Square to celebrate Earth Hour. Of course I took my camcorder and recorded the proclamation as read by the Town Crier and the countdown to 8:30PM
The crowd wasn't as good as last year, I suspect the cold weather had much to do with that. Even though the crowd was less, I would say, just in my travels, it seemed people had turned off their lights in solidarity with the entire concept of Earth Hour.
The result for Brantford, as reported in the media, was a 5.6% decrease in energy consumption for that time period. This is about half what it was last year, so there seems not to have been the same enthusiasm and interest. I should point out there is a move to have an "Earth Hour" once a month on the last Saturday. I would say that the young people behind the move have a good thought, I hope people will agree and do something on a monthly basis or at least make a decrease in energy consumption and making the carbon footstep a little smaller.
I wonder if Earth Hour is becoming one of those targets for all sides. After all, it could be viewed not just the symbolic gesture of lowering consumption and being made aware of the fact that ultimately we are simply stewards of this planet we call home. We have borrowed it from the previous generation to hand it over to the next.
Earth Hour is being criticized by some as being one of those fluffy acts of environmentalism, you know it makes us feel good that we have done something, without actually doing something. It is a gesture which might be an empty gesture at worse. It could be seen in the same light as recycling. Please understand I do recycle, I try to be faithful with my recycling, separating my paper and cardboard from metal and plastics. Why I say that it because there are other ways, after all, when did I say I want all those products packed in plastics. Especially those things in plastic that take specialized knifes to cut open. Who officially called that a smart idea, do we need to be so crazy with packaging. So Earth Hour, we turn off some of the lights, sit in the dark for one hour and feel we've done something good for the Planet.
Perhaps we need to look beyond the immediate and consider what it all means, the main webpage has this:
Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million homes and businesses turned their lights off for one hour to make their stand against climate change. Only a year later and Earth Hour had become a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries participating. Global landmarks such as the, Sydney Harbour Bridge, The CN Tower in Toronto, The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Rome’s Colosseum, all stood in darkness, as symbols of hope for a cause that grows more urgent by the hour.
It reminds us we need to do something. It's one act that lowers energy consumption for an hour, but it makes us think that we can consider the fact we don't need to use as much energy. I know one crank suggested a lot of the planet already 'celebrates' Earth Hour because their energy consumption is like their income, next to nothing. Is it simply an act by the West to pretend we care when we really don't?
Is it the first step towards a change in the way we treat the resources of the planet and its environment? I wonder that Earth Hour is the proverbial first step for in the 1000 mile march. It got to start somewhere and some place. However, if we simply get complacent and say that's all we need to do, then it is a failure.
The old saying still holds true: "Think Globally, Act Locally". We need to do more to lower the carbon emissions. I know there will be some who scream "Climategate", well put me on the side that believes we are doing damage to the Planet and we can cut down our consumption of the planet's resources. It is happening by the way, things are starting to get better, bit by bit, but there is still more.
Earth Hour reminds us there is the grassroots desire to do more. What needs to happen is get leadership to see this and get with a climate treaty that does work and not this cap and trade nonsense. Lowering emissions and carbon means just that, not making a deal with another country: 'you keep that tree up and I don't have to stop driving an SUV'.
Earth Hour is a good idea, but let's not get stuck on just doing that.