I received a phone call earlier this week from a reporter doing a story on Earth Day, the sit-in-the-dark hour. She cheerfully wanted my contribution to how I was honouring or observing Earth Day. There followed a most awkward conversation, she could not decide if I was joshing her or was serious.
I assure you I am serious.
My Christmas lights in the front tree will be on tonight.
Electricity is a marvellous blessing, a mark of our civilization. It represents enlightenment, learning, opportunity, advancement. I have no desire to sit freezing in the dark.
It bothers me that the save-electricity time is on a Saturday evening. With time of day billing [save up to $5 a month by shifting your electricity consumption as monitored by a $9 a month meter!] why are we saving electricity at the cheapest time, possibly when Ontario Hydro is busy PAYING other utilities to take off our surplus electricity?
If this is to be a meaningful gesture, it should occur in January when it’s cold and would include turning off the furnace for six hours or so; or at 2pm in July when A/C demands challenge the network. But no, this futile gesture is not meaningful, it’s superficial, it’s an excuse to avoid the hard choices. I note the envirokeeners don’t ask for any real sacrifice, and always avoid simple things like raising the consumer-paid gas tax in favour of indirect, less-traceable actions like increasing the tax on petroleum corporations.
That abdication of responsibility is telling. It tells me their support is shallow. They simply cannot marshal enough support for things that affect people directly.
So instead of hiding in the dark tonight, I’ll be warming by my gas fireplace, reading a book, listening to the kids play video games in another area of my centrally-heated century home. And my lights will be on because we have a civilization and culture that is worth emulating.