The “Feel-good” hour

Anyone who knows me should realize that I consider myself  eco-friendly.  I’m a religious (almost compulsive) recycler, I walk and bike as much as I can and even have a compost pile in  my back yard.  Yet I didn’t “celebrate” Earth hour.  Why?  Well I think that being environmentally friendly is a lifestyle choice, not something you act out once a year like Christmas Eve.  And while I completely  respect  the idea behind the hour to raise awareness on our electricity usage, I think it has  the  unintended effect of making people feel good about themselves without really accomplishing much. “Oh yeah, I’m helped the earth out, right after I ate a HUUUGE steak for supper”

Even if a person shut down ALL of their electrical devices for that hour, they only reduced their annual consumption by a measly 0.0114%!!  And I’ll bet the very next day, they’ll return to the same mega-consumption that we North Americans are so good at.  Wal-mart, Home Depot, and Costco are going to be just as busy on Mar 28 as they were the day before.

If you REALLY want to be more gentle on the earth, there are lot more ways to do it but its going to take some sacrifices. I’ve got a couple of ideas that will take more than one hour of effort per year on your part:  Walk, drive, take the bus.  Drink tap water instead of bottled. Live in a smaller house closer to the places you spend your time (work, grocery store, etc). Look at your energy consumption from all angles. Do you really need to buy/operate that leaf blower/pressure-washer/Magic Bullet? How much garbage do you throw out and what does that say about your consumption?   Do you over-eat and then drive to a gym where you run on an electrical treadmill?  Buy LESS instead of recycling MORE.

Again, not trying to be a whole downer on the concept of being more eco-friendly.  I’m glad there is an event like this to raise awareness.  I just think more people come out of this event thinking they ‘did their part’ rather than making significant lifestyle changes.

[edit: I’m going to make a future comment on corporations using this event as a PR opportunity.  Dimming your lights for an hour does little to show me your environmental awareness]