Earth Hour as Social Protest?
The upcoming WWF Earth Hour campaign (Saturday 28th) expects millions of people around the world to participate by shutting off their lights for an hour. Given the variability of issues within the broad umbrella term “environmental movement”, does the simple act of turning off our lights for an hour make a significant contribution to the reduction of climate change? It is likely that this event is more symbolic of a global urgency to unite for a single cause. Which raises the question, does this global initiative reduce the entire environmental movement to one simple issue? Surely, environmentalists would argue that a number of environment-related problems exist including climate change, air pollution, water pollution, and effects on wildlife. The difficulty in framing and mobilizing support for environmental issues is that there are too many seemingly distinct issues. Large corporate industrial waste polluters can soften their image as the bad guy by participating in the event, but ultimately their contributions of one hour of energy conservation does little to protect the environment.