Ottawa Citizen

I will raise my glass to the futility of Earth Hour


When Earth Hour rolls around on Saturday, my wife and I will do what we always do: uncork a nice bottle of wine, have a great dinner and enjoy all the benefits that electricit­y gives us. Perhaps over a glass or two, we might remark on the futility of empty gestures like turning out your lights.

Poll after poll has shown that when people are con- fronted with the actual costs of doing something on a large scale like reducing this ubiquitous carbon footprint, people invariably shy away.

We might also remark on the logic that somehow suggests that government will respond to such a shallow and empty gesture as turning out your lights for an hour as a basis for massive policy decisions. All politician­s need to do is look at the reaction when property taxes rise, when provincial or federal taxes rise, or when hydro rates rise, to know the true mood of the populace.

Turning out the lights is nothing more than another feel good, when you actually do nothing, form of involvemen­t in an issue. I’m sure the peer pressure in various neighbourh­oods around Ot- tawa is great when it comes to switching off. As the herd mentality is always very strong, there will be lots of lights out.

Then there will the inevitable stories recounting what you did when the lights were out. I hope there’s something interestin­g. I on the other hand will have opened another bottle of wine.


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