Will you be joining the miillions of people worldwide as they turn off their lights for Earth Hour, 20:30 local time, tonight.
Humble homes and iconic buildings have all stood in darkness during previous Earth Hours, even in Ireland, with the lights being dimmed at major heritage sites and in Government buildings.
Earth Hour, however, may be a purely symbolic action on climate change to raise awareness on energy consumption, but one that subtly shifts responsibility away from governments and politicians and onto individuals. It may very well deflect attention from the reality that is the global climate and ecological crisis. How much energy we use, individually and globally, is important but lighting is a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of overall energy usage. More importantly by far is how our energy is actually produced (think Edenderry Power Station, burning millions of tonnes of beautiful Irish bogland peat).
arth Hour allows governments to show that they're 'with' the people by darkening official buidlings (it;s supposed to be all things electric) without having to commit to any substantial actions, actions that can only be addressed at inter-governmental, EU and global levels. This means binding treaties and strong regulations; to rein in Ireland's overconsumption which includes energy, to stablise our emissions and to reduce the pressure on the global environment.
Ireland's government has, so far, shown itself to be anything other than committed, with emission back-pedalling and special pleading in the EU a regular occurence. Only recently the Taoiseach apologised for Ireland being so 'laggardly' in the area of climate change mitigation. There is, of course, the facility for Ireland to buy carbon credits within the EU (alongside the fines we already pay) from those countries who will meet or exceed their targets so that Ireland can carry on regardless. Increases in economic growth, exports and the like without regard to the betrayal of both the developing world and Ireland's environment for her future generations.
'If homo sapiens really have the wits and ambition to survive this century, from here on - EVERY HOUR has to be Earth Hour' - John Gibbons (environmental journalist and writer)
A haven of quiet countryside highlighting issues affecting the natural world.