Earth Hour – the world’s biggest voluntary environmental action – enters its sixth year in circumstances far different from those that attended its birth.
The event began in Sydney in 2007 when concern in the industrialised world about the role of manmade greenhouse gases in climate change was visibly strong.
It’s still strong, but a well-organised counter movement has grown, pressing the case that human activities have little, if any, effect on climate.
Despite their arguments, however, many people remain committed to the search for alternative fuels, technologies and social norms that may minimise human impacts on the environment.
Their logic is unassailable. A lower-impact way of life is surely worth pursuing and, even if the fossil-fuel lobby proves to be correct the search for a sustainable human economy that doesn’t cost the earth is an honourable one.
The mass voluntary switching off of superfluous electrical devices for a single hour sends a message to decision-makers in governments and corporations all over the world that ordinary people remain true to their wish for a better world and a better way of living.
Earth Hour is a call to governments to stay the course on legislative measures to encourage and coerce the world of commerce into seriously pursuing beneficial changes to energy use.
People in Australia should be proud that an initiative that originated on their shores has taken root so readily elsewhere.