Earth Hour

Each March, the World Wildlife Fund sets a date and a time for Earth Hour. The concept is fairly simple: For one hour, participants turn off their lights and appliances/electronics. This is a gesture made in an effort to acknowledge the ecological footprint that each of us is responsible for creating, and to foster a mindfulness to climate concerns moving forward. It’s largely a token gesture, but is meaningful to adherents and is – at the very least – a harmless expression of solidarity in the face of our approaching ecological doom.

This year’s Earth Hour was from 8:30pm-9:30pm on March 19th, and I participated with my partner. This is my review:

Earth Hour is an opportunity to light some candles and spend time with people you care about in relief of the constant screen-glare and electric hum of the modern world. If you live in a city, as we do, your neighbours may not participate. As such, it won’t actually become as quiet as you would like to think that it will. Streetlights don’t turn off for Earth Hour. As the hour approaches its end, you may notice a nagging compulsion to go turn everything back on and to check your social media notifications. This is addiction talking. It is best to plan ahead for Earth Hour to ensure that you are doing something that is incredibly not-boring, but requires no electricity – such as playing Scrabble by candlelight, telling ghost stories, or hunting one another for sport. If you choose the latter option, please keep in mind that night-vision goggles, laser-sighted rifles and high-powered tasers are all against the spirit of Earth day.

The Verdict: Earth Day is a harmless thing to do, that helps us to realize how dependant we are upon modern conveniences, and suggests to us that perhaps we should be judicious about the way that we consume resources. It is also pretty boring.

Prior to this year’s Earth Hour, Canadian Dreamboat Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to Twitter to remind folks of the coming event and encourage participation.

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To my mind, there are three ways to react to this kind to posting:
1) You already knew about Earth Hour and were planning to participate – or not – and you think “Oh, that guy is participating in Earth Hour”.
2) You didn’t know about Earth Hour and now you will participate – or not – and you think “Now I know about a thing I didn’t know about. That guy is participating in Earth Hour.”
3) You act like a total piece of shit about it:

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Admittedly, that last one is as bafflingly bizarre as it is legitimately piece-of-shitty, but you get the picture. There were dozens of responses like this to the PM’s tweet, mostly from really angry Westerners who hate Justin Trudeau even more than they hate anyone suggesting that they might share in the responsibility should our planet ever go tits-up. It’s petty, sickening and absolutely typical of modern politics.

I’ll cop to having replied to politicians on Twitter with snarky comments in the past. But it bears repeating that the innocuous, well-meaning content of the PM’s tweet warranted exactly zero of the vitriol sprayed upon it by the rabid skunks of Conservative twitter. In his eight years in office, former PM Stephen Harper didn’t once achieve the kind of good-natured positivity captured in just this one tweet.

If you don’t believe in the aim of Earth Hour – even if you don’t believe in climate change – that is okay. It’s not great, but it’s okay. Don’t participate.

But don’t be so shitty. We have more than enough being shitty going on in the world without you chiming in.

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