SOMEONE ELSE’S WINDOWS: An hour of hypocrisy

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/28 March) – People across the globe will mark Earth Hour on March 31 by simultaneously putting off electric power in their homes and offices. It sounds worthwhile to join what looks like an event that media will surely give much space and air time to.

Honestly, however, I find it more of a gimmick than a serious attempt to curb activities that contribute to environmental degradation, in particular atmospheric pollution that has caused the phenomenon of global warming.

One hour without electricity? Pray tell how significant it is to arresting the overall condition of the earth’s atmosphere. Tell me too if every switch or bulb turned off on Saturday would mean a sharp needle pricked into the conscience, if any, of the biggest polluters on earth.

We’re talking here of the giant oil companies which decades ago assured the world that their fuel would not be harmful to the environment. Of course, even politicians like Al Gore have admitted that the exact reverse has actually happened but industrialized countries, especially the US, have always refused to accept the “inconvenient truth.”

On the same hour that parts of the world will go into darkness, millions of cars and other vehicles will continue to run. So will plants and factories. Never expect these industries to rest a single second from emitting carbon and reduce their profit margins. Time is gold, and in the world of capital it’s as infallible as the word of the Pope.

In fact, Earth Hour may in fact be a ploy to divert global attention away from the major source of atmospheric pollution and global warming – the use of bunker fuel. The Kyoto Protocol has failed, no thanks to the refusal of the US to ratify it and subsequently reduce its industrial emissions. Time to cook up something that will make the world think the problem lies elsewhere.

Surprisingly, only a few seem to question why the world should go loco over devoting one hour each year – yes, each year not each day – to an endeavor that touches the issue of global warming but tends to sideline the major cause. It looks like our esteemed advocates now love to shoot from the hip.

Should we turn off our lights on March 31? People in Mindanao may no longer have to do it given the daily power interruptions they are experiencing.

How about giving our power firms an award for being Earth-friendly? I don’t mean to be sarcastic. I just want to look at the brighter side of things in these literally dark times in Mindanao. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached at hmcmordeno@gmail.com.)