I did not participate in Earth Hour. Well I couldn’t because I was still on the way home at 8.30pm tonight. But I did see quite a few buildings like SMU switching off their lights at 8.30 sharp.
Even if I was at home, I would not have turned off my lights. To all the treehuggers out there, I’m sorry but I think this Earth Hour is quite a load of rubbish. The amount of time, resources and energy it took to come out with all the marketing material would surely exceed any savings from the few people turning off their lights for that one hour. It’s ironic that the bus stop ads for Earth Hour remained lighted up throughout those magical 60 minutes.
Its symbolic, yes everyone agrees on that. But beyond the symbolism, I feel that it makes participants feel they are doing something great for the environment for just that one hour, before returning to their normal, wasteful ways.
I have a few practical and achievable suggestions for people who really want to save the Earth:
1. Sell your car, or don’t get one. Take public transport.
2. Only very occasionally sleep with aircon. Train your kids to sleep without aircon.
3. Limit your TV time to max 1 hr a day.
4. Change all the lightbulbs in your home to energy saving ones.
5. Seldom print anything, and if you do, print double-sided, two pages per side or use recycled paper.
How many Earth Hour participants do all of the above? I do. I’d like to challenge all Earth Hour participants to do the same. I’m sure there are many more ways that we can reduce consumption without too much inconvenience to ourselves.
In fact, one particularly wasteful and environmentally unfriendly policy of the Government which flies in the face of Earth Hour is the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) Lighting Masterplan. Introduced in 2006, the Lighting Masterplan asks building owners to turn on the lights in their buildings at night to beautify the city, as well as design lighting on their roofs to make their buildings more attractive. Choong Yong has written more about this and I shall not repeat what he said. Needless to say I agree with his points. Personally I would find a darkened city that allows me to see the natural lights of the stars much more beautiful.