Welcome to empty symbolism

March 27, 2008

Earth Day is almost upon us, which means… Well I guess that we all remember the fact that we hurl through the vast expanses of space on a tiny dirt ball with really very little atmosphere and water.

This year, in order to really show the planet that we are serious about saving it (and let’s be honest, it is about saving US mostly), people are supposed to turn off their lights for one hour.

Let me be the first to say: Wow. How retarded.

Let’s be clear about this. We have wasted vast amounts of energy and resources ever since we entered the age of Industrialization. We have mined the earth for it’s riches, found new ways to use stuff that nobody really knew what to do with to do new things. The cheap oil has allowed us to reach prosperity never before known in the history of mankind (or the planet as a whole for that matter). Us, that is, mainly in the West. We had the foresight and the human capital to make use of these things. The Oil Age has brought us the Green Revolution, it allows us to have an abundance of food to eat what we want, whenever we want. It has given us the ability to go around the world in a matter of hours via the Airplane and in the last 100 years the average life expectancy in the Western World has risen from 30 years to over 80 years of age. All of this based on our ability to turn stuff into useful stuff that 100 years ago nobody would have really looked at.

But now there is a realization growing that the Good Times™ are about to be over, that we may have reached a peak in one way or the other. Not to mention the new darling of the media: Global Climate Change. Now, I am not saying that these things aren’t real. We will pass the Peak at one point or the other, we are not living on a place of endless resources, we may be instrumental in changing the climate of the planet. All that CO2 has to go somewhere, even if it is may be life.

My problem is this stupid idea that turning your lights off for one hour is going to safe the planet or make a change. Let me be blunt:


Yes, it may make you feel better to “do something”, but the planet won’t notice, your electricity company won’t notice. It is, simply put, a stupid idea. If you want to make a change then change the way you live, change how you live your life and try to inspire others. To turn you lights off for sixty minutes won’t leave a lasting impression on anybody.

Personally, come April 22nd. I will not only turn on all my lights but blast the stereo, open the windows and turn up the heat. Why? Because this is a stupid idea. If you want to change the future, leave your spawn a nice place to live, then make permanent changes, get the Governments, companies and your neighbours to make these changes too. Understand what goes into all the stuff you buy daily, where it comes from, what happens to it when you use it, then try to make changes. But don’t do something useless just to feel good about yourself. Grow up.


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