Saturday, March 27, 2010

Earth Hour: The value of symbolic acts?

I have, as usual mixed feeling towards events like Earth Hour. The deal in brief is to encourage large chunks of humanity to turn off the lights for one hour tonight. I can see a bit of value in such an act. People are using too much electricity. I have always strived to use as little as possible. It has always felt natural to me. Many people sweat heavily in their living rooms and office buildings, with a temperature reaching as high as thirty degrees Celsius, at least that. I do well with eighteen and always turn off what I don’t use.

But I dislike such symbolic acts, for a number of reasons. They have little or no value long term and work very much as a diversion, for the true issues that should be discussed in such a context, drawing the attention away from the true problem, not bringing attention to it. It is humanity’s energy needs that must be heavily reduced, not merely its use. We must return to the age, thousands of years ago, when we hardly made more than a few footprints on the planet during our lifetime.

Today we’re all destroyers. By more or less actively participating in a society that is slowly destroying all life on Earth, we’re committing collective suicide.

When we start discussing within such drastic parameters, instead of hollering in joy over such purely symbolic acts like Earth Hour it will be the start of something truly helpful.

Several other articles about the same subject on Midnight Fire:

What's wrong with civilization?


Tailspin suicide run

Chemical cocktail

The World Grinder

Living in the wild



The technological glorification of technology



Anonymous said...

I am also deeply ambivalent about Earth Hour. Yes, it's a nice idea, and it's maybe a little inspiring to think that we can at least show a little human solidarity for one hour a year, but what does turning off the lights really accomplish? I'm participating, but compared to the meaningful changes I've made or want to make in my daily life, it seems kind of silly. There must be more effective ways to raise awareness and effect change.

Amos Keppler said...

It must. And it must be one that in a far better and effective way points out the dire need for action, for moving beyond distractions and symbolic acts.