Earth Hour an exercise in futility

LAST Saturday, much of the whole world switched off electricity for an hour to celebrate “Earth Hour,” an annual event sponsored by World Wide Fund for Nature to inculcate awareness towards the need to save on electricity and stall the changing climates being experienced by most countries.

The intention could have been noble had it not been for the fact that there was money attached to the celebration, the proceeds of which were intended for one organization and its sponsors to fund future celebrations.

How much money the WWF is hard to wrestle, considering that there is no public accounting being made by both WWF and its sponsors.

According to WWF Thailand,  electricity usage by Thailand dropped by 73.34 megawatts for one hour.  In the Philippines, power consumption was reduced by  102.2 megawatts in Luzon alone.

But the WWF people are apparently missing their point. If the idea is to avert a climate change crisis, all they have to do is to battle against industrial plants that have made life unbearable to electricity users.

An hour a year will not reduce the expenses incurred by the consumers unless the Philippine government, for instance, scraps the value added tax that have made us miserable.

An hour-long Earth Day will not also stop the polluters of Planet Earth and dump their wastes wherever they want to.

Mining companies, manufacturing establishments along the Pasig River and the illegal loggers, to name a few, must be stopped from their merry ways and be told to follow environmental laws or face the consequences.

Gregg Yan, media officer of environment group WWF-Philippines (World Wide Fund for Nature), estimated 18 million Filipinos took part.

Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras and Environment Secretary Ramon Paje led participants in a candle-lighting ceremony but that was all they did.

Nobody among the culprits, some are government officials themselves and their cohorts in business, were given at least a stern warning that from now on, this government will act with dispatch if they disobey the rules. Raul Valino


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