I believe we need to invest heavily in alternative, renewable energy sources. I support efforts to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels — even when it pinches my pocketbook. I really do. But I have to think twice about the Earth Hour campaign.
Yes, some of the pictures of brightly lit cities going dark were impressive. But what did it really prove? The more I questioned myself, the more cynical I became about the exercise. Here were some of the biggest energy wasters on the planet– the office complexes that leave interior lights on all night, the miles of purely decorative exterior neon, etc. — sending the rest of us this ‘message’ that we need to save energy. By turning out their lights for an hour. Wow. One whole hour.
Doesn’t our planet deserve more than an hour?
Let’s not even talk about Las Vegas, one of the most outlandish energy wastelands ever created. Officials there might as well have crooked their fingers in the corners of their city’s mouth and waggled it’s tongue at us as they turned off the lights for an hour. It was insulting. Honestly, Las Vegas sending a message to the world that we need to save energy is as offensive to my intelligence as my government giving billions of our tax dollars to AIG so they can pay bonuses to their executives. But let’s not even go there.
Here’s an idea. Instead of the cities turning out their lights for one hour next year, how about they put together a plan to trim back their energy usage over the whole year. Figure out which of those decorative lights they can do without, or come up with an alternative energy source to power them. Get the office buildings to come up with a way to cut unnecessary lighting during off hours. Eliminate some of those highway billboard spotlights. Increase homeowner tax incentives to install energy efficient appliances.
As the old cliche goes, actions speak louder than…er…’messages’ in the dark!