29 Mar 2009

Earth Hour - does it work?

Here I was all excited about Earth Hour, waiting for 8:30 in the night to turn up. I had all plans to switch off two of the three lights that I would use at night as my contribution.

So much for planning. I was stuck on some editing job in a studio that of course had left all its lights on and ACs guzzling away like power hungry monsters. Apparently no one knew about the concept. They kept shrugging their shoulders.

How does earth hour work? And why should we promote it? More than the actual numbers, I think it is more about making people aware of global warming and how we can make a difference. The official website has this to say:

For the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming.

But does that really work? A year ago, before this financial crisis, maybe people in the US and Europe would have listened. And their politicians would have been forced to do something about it. Right now they couldn’t care less. In India where the impact of the financial crisis is lesser, it is business as usual. Global warming ? What is that? Oh that is something the richer countries are doing to us ! Our economies are too small. We cannot make much of an impact – good or bad.

The many years that environmentalists and voluntary organizations have worked to get climate change on the global agenda (and help Al Gore get the Nobel Prize !) has all gone to dust.

It almost looks like that people can only afford to think of global warming once they have taken care of their bread and butter issues first.

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