Saturday, March 28, 2009
Boxing Day, post-election slump, birthday clean-up - the sun is shining brightly the day after Earth Hour as council workers attack JC Decaux-laden bus stops, switch billboard ads back to images of a wet Vincent Gallow sheltered under a table in anticipation for a return to climate complacency and tonight's great "Turn-On". Though Earth may have possibly won a few votes in the election, its taken only hours for it to be impeached "in more than 80 countries around the world" by "an estimated 1 billion people".
In the park this morning, the air felt heavy with a collective sigh of relief: we can turn the lights back on; we've done our bit; the before and after picture in the Sunday Herald emphasised the glorious 'before' and humbled 'after' of Sydney's icons. The images, side-by-side invited 'spot-the difference' scrutiny on would ordinarily commit to page 14 of New Weekly, as D-grade celebrities who remain weirdly quiet on issues of Earth for 364 pose gloriously, lips glossed, chest out and branded in WWF.
And as a person sufficiently enraged by the fundamental injustice of the climate-related policy at the moment, the last 4 day have been marred by ad-induced bi-polarity on how to feel about the whole thing. I've spent stupid time critiquing the event, had angry and embarrassingly inflamed conversations with media people rewarded with employment by the event; felt uncomfortable at protests. Time and again the lament has been "but its raising awareness of the issue", and true I guess, for some people being aware for one day of the year is better than being ignorant for all of it.
I get what Christians felt like when Xmas became a commerical event. I'm sure concerns were raised early on that putting tinsel in shopping centres in November did little to further the learning of the value of birth and the coming of Jesus, but were muffled by chimes of 'but people will think of God and its better that they think of ours than someone else's".
So Earth Hour is to environmentalist, what Christmas Day is to Christians: It's okay to switch off the lights but earth-forbid that you start talking to people about the reduction of emissions, burning of coal and duplicity of corporations, because that would be tantamount to bible-bashing on people's front doors on Christmas eve, when stressed-out Mums and Dads are trying to figure out where the bloody hell the sticky tape has gotten to.
So we wish you a Happy Earth Hour, and return to regular programming for the rest of the year.