Sorry, Earth Hour freaks, but Mindanao may not make it tonight.
Turning off lights — even for an hour — may prove to be too much to ask, especially if you currently live in the Philippines’ second-largest island.
And it’s not because residents fail to appreciate the urgency of saving Mother Earth. Nor is it because residents dislike Earth Hour’s organizer — World Wildlife Fund (WWF) — and its partner companies, including the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), the Philippines’ largest electricity distributor.
Never mind that the WWF supports clean coal technology — which traps toxic emissions from coal plants — a process that remains undeveloped, and that Meralco buys power from plants that use coal, the cheapest yet dirtiest fuel.
It’s just that for months on end, Mindanao residents have been doing Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes’ version of the Earth Hour — the island has been suffering from blackouts spanning anywhere from three to eleven hours every day.
And so, if the world sees Mindanao all lit-up like a Christmas tree from 8:30 to 9:30 in the evening of March 27, Saturday, let’s cut the island some slack.
Instead, we should blame God for the island’s widespread blackouts, just like what the energy secretary earlier recommended.
After all, playing the blame game is so much easier than actually providing long-term solutions.
Just like turning off a light switch.
Or blogging, for that matter.
But then again, I digress.
Thanks to paleo.wordpress.com for the highly-relevant picture.
Celebrities and personalities of all shapes, sizes, colors, and configurations will all celebrate Earth Day this year by turning off lights for an hour.
It will be no different from last year.
Starlets and slacktivists will all give themselves a collective blow job after turning off the lights for one hour.
Big fucking deal.
They will supposedly be joined by a cast of crazies from the rest of the world — the demented and the deluded, the self-centered, the self-indulgent, and the self-important (suddenly, a person comes to mind), the greedy rich, the stupid poor, and members of the bumbling, blathering middle-class.
Excuse me for being a sanctimonious little prick but switching off lights for an hour will do absolutely nothing for the earth.
It’s slacktivism, plain and simple, no better than clicking the join button for a group advocating everything (save for hard work and hell-raising) on Facebook.
If anyone can cut substantial emissions by turning off lights for an hour around the world, then I can find the cure for all cancers, AIDS, and the set of six winning numbers on the next lotto draw.
Resources spent on the Earth Hour campaign — the gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel consumed by organizers to help put it all together, the electricity spent for printing out posters, including tarps, which are not so biodegradeable — will more than likely just offset, if at all, the emissions saved by the forced one-hour brownout.
The best solution for reducing effects of climate change is always the hardest.
It includes, among others, cutting consumption of — yes, you’ve guessed it — everything.
Of course, it won’t be simple.
It involves refraining from buying your nth pair of shoes or getting that new SUV just to keep up with the neighbors. (For that matter, it involves drastically cutting use of private vehicles.)
It involves buying locally-made goods because imported ones — while cheaper — consume a lot more emissions because more energy was spent transporting these items to our shores.
Until all of us come to terms with what it really takes to save this planet, Earth Hour at least to me is nothing more than a yearly gimmick; an invented social event just to make everyone feel good.
So will I turn off the lights for Earth Hour this year?
Like hell I will.
I’m going to leave it on the whole night.
And if somebody asks why, I’ll say I’m doing it for the people of Mindanao who to this day suffer from 11-hour blackouts — everyday.
At least, I’ve called attention to their plight.
But that, of course, is another matter altogether.