Thursday, March 29, 2012

Why I'm not joining Earth Hour this year

If there is one thing I learned from UP in my first year as an Iska, it's to make a stand on something and not have "just because" as a reason for it. I do not intend to let you perceive this in any activist point of view by saying this. By this, either I mean I learned that I really am entitled to my own opinion and I have the right to voice it out, or analyze things in a deeper perspective and not just skid on its surface area.

The first one, for a fact is something we all know by heart - but the question is, do you get to exercise this right of yours or are you still entangled in that little web of fear? We all have opinions. Most of us are just afraid to let others know about it. Those who don't are only indifferent about it (don't even get me started on raging about indifference). Well, my dear reader, I am encouraging you to start a blog of your own, at least. Step out of your comfort zone, and start exploring the world around you. Fear voicing out your opinions? Blog about it. This I guarantee: it helps. A lot.

The latter is something I discovered myself. What I'm trying to point out here is that before you conform with society or the other way around, think. Read between the lines. Think of its metaphors and interpretations. Have reasons aligned with your opinions. Why are they doing it? Why are you doing it?

Well, here is one thing I am going to share with you guys:

I am not going to turn the lights off for Earth Hour.

If I don't tell you why, you'll think I'm this stupid rebel girl trying to go against the flow for the sake of being cool (I don't know, but because that's what I think of others who are indifferent and do things 'just because'). For the record, I'm not and I have my own stand about it.

Don't get me wrong, I've been practicing Earth Hour ever since this campaign started becoming this annual event. I have even started text brigades before, encouraging people to support this cause. Okay, I know this is getting sappy so I'm taking you straight to the point.

I only used to think Earth Hour was good for everyone. I never even thought about it being negative as well. I refused to look at it from another point of view, because I was being bombarded by only one side of the coin. I read an article last year about why someone did not turn his lights of during Earth Hour, and that was when I realized I had the right to toss the coin. Thus, I became exposed to the other side - a new world, new matters, new thoughts.

In that article, it said:
"Turning off the lights for one hour seems a meek and hollow gesture, a feel-good measure that may fleetingly raise awareness, but does little to educate or change long-term habits, let alone “take control over the future of our planet.” It is, simply put, a media event in search of actual content." (Makower, J.)
 He's right. I never did question Earth Hour, but I realized that it doesn't answer either of these questions - "so what" and "what now"?

Also, in terms of interpretation, I read this:
"Light has a vast range of positive and aspirational associations: civilisation, truth, health, intelligence, safety, hope, life and salvation. Those opposing action on climate change understand this well and frequently use images of electric light at night in their publicity as a metaphor for excitement, civilisation, and progress
So it is hard to think of any image more destructive to our cause than turning off lights. The metaphors of darkness are overwhelmingly negative: danger, decay, and death. We see the dark ages as a time of brutality. Poets such as Dylan Thomas call on us to “rage against the dying of the light”. Sir Edward Grey on the eve of the first world war said “the lamps are going out all over Europe”. Really the cultural resonance could hardly be worse." (Marshall, 2009)
 This was the statement that persuaded me to keep the lights on during Earth Hour. I was taken aback by the irony environmentalists presented right there. Maybe they have a different philosophy about the way they look at things, I don't really know. One might think this is over-analyzing, but in my opinion actions have interpretations and one has to look beyond what he sees.

Also, I think that it is stupid to "save energy" just for an hour annually. Come on, guys. We know better than that! Why vote for Earth once a year when we can show full support everyday? I'm not saying we turn the lights out everyday, but there are other ways as well.

You might think that I'm going against Earth Hour because of this article. I mean, I am, but hey I've heard both sides and because of this, I have the right to choose my stand and share what I think. I know you have yours, too. :)

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