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RUPERT’S FORAY INTO FEEL-GOOD ENVIRONMENTALISM

By Rupert Truscott-Hughes on March 17, 2017 in Other

Picture: Bernie Coleman

Picture: Bernie Coleman

Can you believe it is ten years since the world stopped and switched off their lights and other electrical appliances for one whole hour for the first time as part of the inaugural Earth Hour event? And did you know that Earth Hour is still happening on an annual basis? Probably not – the hype kind of wore off pretty quickly after the first one, and even more so after a bunch of academics completely debunked its effectiveness in reducing CO2 emissions. Yep, those paraffin-based candles you’re lighting are probably producing more emissions than the fancy LED light bulbs you just switched off in an act of feel-good environmentalism. How good does that make you feel?

Since it’s first incarnation as a global event in 2008, the planet has kept heating up, ice caps continue to melt, species disappear, and climate change deniers keep on denying. Has the world become a better, greener place in the decade that’s lapsed since Earth Hour Mk1? I think not.

Of course the good folk who keep the Earth Hour wheels turning now stress that the hour-long excursion into the dark ages is purely an act of symbolism rather than an exercise in energy reduction. According to the Global FAQ page on the Earth Hour website, it’s “an initiative to encourage individuals, businesses and governments around the world to take accountability for their ecological footprint and engage in dialogue and resource exchange that provides real solutions to our environmental challenges. Participation in Earth Hour symbolises a commitment to change beyond the hour.” Sounds like a bit of a cop-out to me.

In my opinion, one of the best things about Earth Hour, if not the only good thing, is that it started right here in Sydney. Yep, the first Earth Hour event was actually held in Sydney back in 2007 (so technically this year is Earth Hour’s 11-year anniversary for us Sydneysiders). If there is one thing this country is good at, it’s pointless symbolism, and you need only look as far as the top left corner of our national flag for confirmation.

With all this in mind, it might surprise you that Rupert here does actually participate in Earth Hour each year, and I will most certainly be switching off my lights from 8.30pm to 9.30pm on Saturday, March 25. Not only do I enjoy the subsequent savings on my power bill and the feel-good factor that comes with pretending I’m doing something positive for the planet, it’s also the best night of the year to switch off the lights and spy on my sultry, recently single, often scantily clad next door neighbour, who is way out of my league and, thankfully, far too aloof to even realise that Earth Hour is taking place, meaning her house will most certainly be well illuminated.

Now where did I leave those binoculars?

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