If you’re like me you learned every lesson you’ll ever need in life by watching Saturday morning cartoons. And anything you needed to know about quixotic missions, spiritual resistance and the perils of working with ACME explosives you learned from watching The Roadrunner Show. Wile. E. Coyote. Genius. Indeed. Anyone who, when faced with the realization that the plan he has spent all day constructing has badly misfired and has sent tonnes of Arizona boulders raining down upon him, trusts his survival to the tested response of a ladies parasol and a placard saying ‘help’, is a genius in, if nothing else, comic timing.
And, with Earth Hour having just completed it’s rolling wave of 60 minute black outs across the world, I am reminded again of Coyote holding up that umbrella meekly against the oncoming destruction. With the consensus of the world’s scientists and climate experts now telling us that the dangers of climate change are real, near and require immediate action, the best we can come up with as a response is to turn some lights out for an hour. One hour? This is a gag right? Someone is taking the piss? Are we serious?
Australian Minister for Environment and the Arts, Peter Garret (whose portfolio does NOT include climate change. No, that delicate role has been entrusted Penny Wong, a parliamentarian of soulless discipline and efficiency who, unlike Garrett, does not have an uncomfortable history of showing a conscience, something wholly incompatible with a job whose main purpose is to maintain an open dialog about the critical importance of addressing climate change whilst simultaneously doing nothing about it.), commented that while the actual climate benefits of an hours darkness were negligible, the sheer number of people involved sent a powerful message.
To whom, Peter? Ministers for the Environment, perhaps? Maybe in between approving pulp mills, signing off on de-salination plants and playing rock gigs, you could find the time to actually listen to these people, because some of them no doubt handed you your well paid job by taking part in a little thing we call democracy. Whatever.
I guess a lot of people will be waking up today feeling pretty good about themselves for taking part in the monumental task of switching off a few big ticket items for an hour; knowing they were a part of something bigger than themselves that has given voice to the myriad environmental concerns dominating the news. Good stuff. Now, if we’re all quite done with that we really need to get back to digging that big round hole – the Chinese are on the phone and that brown coal ain’t gunna excavate itself out of the ground now is it?
And for another year we can go back to the important task of making the world a better place. Like ensuring that the Sydney Opera House of fully illuminated at 3.30am on a Tuesday night. Or that the rats in the Colosseum have enough light to scuttle by at 4am on a Wednesday night. And that the Pyramids of Giza suffer not sleeping beneath a dark desert sky on a Thursday.
Not sure about you, but if it means staving off the end of the world, I could probably cop a little more than a single hour one night a year with the lights out. Meanwhile, pass me the parasol…