All On Board For Earth Hour
Us, we're party-poopers, we chose not to go with the flow. Yes, I know; everyone loves a party and that feel-good blush that accompanies being one of the crowd of righteous believers. Well, you can believe, and do what you feel you can, and not wish to join parties, if you're not the type.
That's us. "Not the type." So, although the lights went off at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday night at some rather notable sites in Ottawa, the country's capital, and where we happen to live, we happen also not to have felt it to be such a terrific idea. The clock on the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill was dimmed. All municipal buildings and Hydro Ottawa offices reduced their lighting.
And talk about sensitive corporate citizens ... ! ... the World Wildlife Fund-generated initiative took the imagination of the public relations types at Wal-Mart and McDonald's as well. Off went the road signs and roof beams. This will most certainly serve to endear these corporate giants of mass marketing to the hordes of people whom they serve on a daily basis. I'm not one of them, though I'm all for warm glows.
Hotels and shopping centres around the city bought into the collective lights-off; they dimmed their lights. Restaurants went soppily romantic; serving customers at candle-lit tables - and they just loved it. It's a start, say the organizers, to teaching people that using less energy is possible. Moreover it's good for dear old Mother Earth, and saves money, as well.
What's not to like? Well, this once-a-year event that's catching on so quickly world-wide, does draw people together for a one-hour period of time, true. The event's critics say, though, that people who take part in this eight-to-nine annual event will feel pretty good about themselves and what they've managed to accomplish. Ta-da! That's all folks...!
Done our bit. Time to go home, now. I've experienced a similar syndrome, when out canvassing door-to-door during the month of April for charitable donations to benefit the Canadian Cancer Society. The Cancer Society, in an effort to alert people to the need to support their services, and to fund research, coincidentally also puts on their Daffodil cancer awareness campaign.
People offer a Loony, a Toonie, a Fiver, get a daffodil, bright yellow and shouting Spring!, feel good about themselves, and go home thinking they've done their bit. And it is a "bit" a teeny, weeny bit. So later, when the volunteer canvasser comes around, they can claim straight-faced, they've already donated.
And having shut off the electricity for an hour each year, there's an impression left that the deed has been done; collective collaboration has succeeded in altering the environmental problems we face for the better. Low-flow shower heads, low-flush toilets, energy-saving appliances, lowering thermostats, using composters year 'round, buying local produce when possible, eating more meatless meals are just incidentals.
Energy conservation is an ongoing responsibility, it's not a party. Taking small steps on a daily basis to reduce waste, to re-use and value resource-abstemious practises is not a party, it's a lifetime commitment.