March 30, 2009

Earth Hour is a Joke.

Earth Hour. Like Earth Day, But Shorter! Fit One into Your Busy Schedule Today!

via Gwen Bell (update: read her followup to the below here)

Right now “Earth Hour” is a trending topic on Twitter.

My response, when I saw it earlier today: “Our attention spans are so short now we’ve traded in Earth Day for Earth Hour?!”


Several people responded to me, telling me that it’s a supplement to Earth Day. And I applaud the sentiment. Still, I don’t think that what the Earth needs from us is one hour. I think the Earth needs us to rethink our habitual patterns. The Earth doesn’t need another pat internet meme, that much is for sure. We all turn off our lights for an hour tomorrow night and “give her a rest” so we feel better about ourselves—and convince ourselves we’re doing our part to stop global destruction.

elej’s Earth Hour Boulder video from a few years back:

But of course big businesses and pretty stars alike are getting in on the fun. It makes us feel like part of the solution. I live in Boulder, Colorado, and we have a strong activist community, and we’re not even doing enough here. Earth Hour is a joke. The fact that people are saying they are “getting ready for Earth Hour,” is a bigger joke. Preparing to read by candlelight for an hour tomorrow night? “Your light switch is your vote,” goes the video.

I get the part where people will flame me in the comments saying that “every little bit counts,” but I’m going to counter that if you want to do your part you will use Earth Hour to sit, meditate and consider your daily impact on the Earth. You will contemplate ways to change your behaviors for good.

The Earth doesn’t care whether or not you turn your lights off tomorrow night. But it might appreciate you taking a moment to reflect on ways to change your habitual patterns for the better, for good.

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