Sun, Mar
30
2008

Next Time Let's Declare "Let's Not Hit Ourselves Repeatedly With a Hammer Hour"

Sun, Mar 30, 2008

darkened-toronto.jpg

I wasn’t going to participate in Earth Hour yesterday. This is the event where people are supposed to raise awareness about power consumption and our impact on the environment by turning off the lights and, where possible, other electrical appliances for an hour early Saturday evening.

I have nothing against the event or the environmental movement. It’s just that I saw this event as largely symbolic and otherwise useless. Unless we were actually going to go the extra mile and honestly have a real blackout (which would have caused safety problems), it’s not like we were going to kill light pollution and see a decent night sky. I also have a work assignment due at the end of this week, and I sort of need to cram.

But my mind was changed after learning that there were a number of bloggers out there who had nothing better to do but piss on the efforts of honest individuals to work with this positive symbol. Yes, some people were so childish in their opposition to this environmental campaign that, rather than just shrug their shoulders and not participate, they decided that they were going to waste energy as much as possible.

I plan on turning on every appliance and lighting fixture in my place: the first hour will be to rebuke some poor soul who thinks that sitting in the dark singing koombiya will somehow prevent polar bears from sailing on ice floats; the second hour will be for the power I’d normally use during the two hours anyway; the third hour is to use more electricity than would’ve been used if the self-righteous ecowarriors didn’t bemoan their poor Gaia’s condition to the rest of us to begin with.

(link)

Stageleft has good coverage of these individuals comments, and Canadian Cynic does such a good job describing the inanity of these actions, that I’m just going to quote him here:

One has to wonder what kind of mean-spirited, vindictive personality it takes to do something that is, quite simply, an act of vandalism — the deliberate destruction of someone else’s efforts. But it’s not just regular vandalism; no, what makes this doubly depressing is that it’s pointless and personally costly vandalism.

One might at least understand if Kate’s flying monkeys, in the act of undermining the whole concept of Earth Hour, at least got something out of it. But they don’t, do they? There’s nothing in it for them other than the thrill of wrecking someone else’s work. It’s the same infantile thrill they get out of freeping someone else’s online poll to destroy whatever value it might have had. There doesn’t have to be anything in it for them — the enjoyment in ruining someone else’s project is satisfaction enough for them. It’s nothing more than walking by someone building a tower of cards and kicking it over because it pleases you. But it doesn’t even stop there.

In fact, it’s easy to see that that sort of vandalism actually costs. For the sheer sake of undoing whatever benefits might have been gained from Earth Hour, these people literally pulled out their wallets and paid real money to crank up their heaters, and turn on their lights, and light their barbeques, and run their vehicles pointlessly. For what? Because it pleased them. Fuck the environment, they said — getting even is more important.

Grown-ups who weren’t interested in Earth Hour would have simply said, “Sorry, not interested, thanks. But knock yourselves out.” But these are not grown-ups we’re dealing with here. Instead, they’re some creepy form of sub-human whose only source of entertainment comes from the damage they can do to people they don’t like, and from the pointless vandalism they can inflict.

Well, Stageleft and others can take solace in the fact that I was paying attention. And while I couldn’t participate right at Earth Hour, that Saturday not only did I shut down the lights in the house that morning, but I also turned off several power bars that are otherwise always on powering my WiFi network, the remote control readiness of the television set, and all sorts of other things. So the vandals in my case had the opposite effect of whatever it was they were trying to do. I know spitefulness when I see it, and sometimes I can’t help but respond in equal and opposite fashion.

It seems like the event was successful, in any event. In Toronto, anyway, power consumption was 5% below the previous hour, and 8.9% below what it typically would have been on a Saturday evening in March.

So, I’d like to thank those guys who, in the grand scheme of things, sort of paid for my electrical bill yesterday.


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