Any initiative supported by large companies is bound to be useless.
Take Earth Hour, a global effort that encourages individuals to turn off lights — or at least dim them — for an hour.
It won’t make any difference for a number of reasons.
First off, think of all the energy, the money, and the resources dedicated to promoting Earth Hour around the world.
Think of all the paper the campaigners used to write letters to presidents of corporations, requesting their support for Earth Hour.
Think of the ink used by printers to — uh — print the said letters, the paper — and the ink — presidents of corporations used and consumed to reply to the letters requesting their support for Earth Hour.
Think of the energy consumed by sending emails requesting support for Earth Hour. (Was the energy used to provide power to the computer and the cable modem that enabled the email transmission clean? Did it come from renewable sources? Or was it sourced from gas-, diesel-, or coal- powered plants, which in turn, contribute to global emissions?)
Think of the posters used to promote Earth Hour this year.
How will they be disposed? Will they disappear into thin air, leaving no effect to the environment? Nope.
They will most likely end up being tomorrow’s garbage. Sure, they may be recyclable (and I seriously doubt that).
But in order to recycle, you have to consume energy, baby.
Think of all the emissions from the exhausts of cars and vehicles of Earth Hour campaigners — some of which and I am pretty sure of this may even be gas-guzzling SUVs — when they troop to and from their meetings with representatives of companies whose support they plan to court.
Do you think these people would bother to take public transportation? Do they zip around the city in Toyota Priuses, trying their very best to cut their respective emission footprints? Nope.
All in all, think about the time, money, and energy spent on the campaign for Earth Hour around the world.
Would that be significantly less than the energy spent by dimming your lights once a year?
The only way to save the earth is the untrammeled establishment of a renewable energy policy and the relentless, unhampered pursuit of establishing infrastructure to make renewable and affordable energy available to all.
And that includes reforming public transport policy, encouraging those with private vehicles to patronize mass transport systems.
Right off the bat, this isn’t something that energy companies would be comfortable supporting.
Besides cutting short term earnings, a sustainable renewable energy policy done right — including imposing prohibitive car use fees, something already done in London and other parts of Europe — would make them obsolete (unless of course they themselves decide to invest in such technologies).
So what do I make of Earth Hour? Pure hype.
It won’t make a dent in the global effort to save the earth. (Which makes me think about whether the earth is worth saving at all. But that’s another story best taken up during a discussion of Battlestar Galactica’s last episode.)
But then again, the Earth Hour was conceptualized by the World Wildlife Fund, sponsors of which include oil companies.
Also, the WWF is a champion of clean coal technology, which unfortunately is a myth; the collective wet dream of oil companies.
Under the so-called clean coal regime, emissions from coal — the cheapest but the dirtiest fuel — are trapped in smokestacks and buried underground.
No such technology has yet been developed, as far as I know.