Saturday 23 March 2013

Gone in 60 Seconds - Earth Hour Edition

A year ago I crafted this:
“Yes I am aware. I am aware of a lot of things, actually. Even things happening outside my country. Even things happening on different continents. Even things happening to people I have no natural cultural or ethnic connection to.

"But what I am most painfully aware of is that your awareness group is not meant to solve a problem. It is designed to use manipulative advertising techniques to create a false promise that your group will deliver anything other than just more awareness.”

Now it's true that awareness is dangerous, in the wrong hands. The cancer fraudster Ashley Kirilow began like a Lou Reed character come to life: She plucked her eyebrows on the way; shaved her head; and then she was a cancer survivor. Till she took a walk with the fraud squad. And all the locals became aware that cancer charity donations were vulnerable to fraud.

In the same vein, it is bloody obvious to all that Earth Hour is a vacuous gesture. But who is Earth Hour for? It's for children. Children. “Let's turn out the lights and play a game in the dark and help save the planet.” Yes it's magical thinking, but that's what children do and we love that in them.

So why does Earth Hour arouse such strong emotion? Yes it's a vulgar and indulgent exercise in greenwashing that property managers have grabbed onto with both hands. Oh, the humanity! But I believe the danger of Earth Hour is that it's social hygiene. By observing Earth Hour, we are indoctrinating our children with positive messages about caring about the health of animals and the natural world.

And when we conspire to make children care, then the National Post's Peter Foster derides "ecofascist nonsense such as Earth Hour". He may be right, but he's also right wing. Not that's there anything wrong with that! So Peter Foster is angry that Earth Hour has no positive benefit, other than to inculcate our children with a caring attitude attitude toward animals and the environment.

But everyone I know cares about animals and the environment. I live in that environment. I eat those animals. And really, what does the World Wildlife Fund do? One day will they flashmob in my laneway and vaccinate all the raccoons?  I doubt it. Based on their website, they are all about “partner programs”. Standard weasel words for “sit on our butts in boardrooms and hold conference calls with green groups. And try to make the governments pay for it all.” Well, good luck with that.

For me Earth Hour will be about going to the park near my house with the classic “million dollar view” of our City's downtown. And when I go there at 8:30 tonight it will be cool to see those buildings all dark.