Why subject yourself to an hour of unsustainable inconvenience (and maybe have to miss a favourite TV show while you are at it) when leading a life that quietly reduces your "carbon footprint" on an on-going basis without all the grandstanding involved in half-arsed spectacles like "Earth Hour" (to be observed 26 March of this year, 2011) is simple, easy, and sensible.
Here are a few things to consider as an individual:
Lose that monster clever marketers call a "sport utility vehicle".
Desk warriors who buy SUV's are victims of clever marketing. Using the latest in marketing techniques, the average urban schmoe is so completely persuaded by Big Business to cough up an extra $10,000 for equipment (such as an entire extra drive train) that will probably never be used over the life of the vehicle. And in case you think that a weekend spent every now and then in one of those "4WD Safaris" outside of city fringes justifies the obnoxious lump of metal on your driveway, think again about this "Earth Hour" you so recently participated in and wax poetic about and then that full tank of gasoline you burnt on the "trail" and consider the irony of it.
Think twice about buying "Made in China".
Most of today's garments and knick knacks are shipped thousands of miles from China and used all of two weeks on the average after which they end up in a landfill. Because they are so cheaply-produced, we;
- use more of them;
- keep them for shorter periods, and;
- acquire them for progressively lamer reasons.
Next time you are in a mall and see a spoiled brat get a Happy Meal stuffed in front of her face and a Disney-licensed imported-from-China toy made of petroleum-based plastic presented lovingly to the kid to temporarily stem a tantrum, go up to her parent and ask if she participated in "Earth Hour".
Besides, considering the on-going financial "crisis", what's the point of all these "stimulation package" handouts if they get spent on Chinese products?
Buy in bulk.
The biggest scourge of the planet is the proliferation of the individually wrapped product. Nowadays products are marketed to us packaged in ever-smaller units (using, guess what, petroleum-based plastic). Of these products, I'd say "bottled water" ranks up there as the most ridiculous -- most specially in countries where tap water is safe to drink and tightly regulated, sometimes as a matter of national security.
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There are many other examples out there of behaviours that we take for granted and, when regarded with a bit of thinking, make all this New Age crap about "Earth Hour" come across, quite frankly, as a crock of hypocritical crap.
Why do an "Earth Hour" when you can do an Earth Lifetime?
On that note, I shall go off and wonder how much fossil fuels were burnt producing the ads, printing the leaflets, and jetting around the world to promote "Earth Hour".
[This article was originally published by the author on the 30th of March 2009 in the now-defunct FilipinoVoices.com]