Do we really need Earth Hour?
There are two inconsistencies with the following phrase: Pakistan will celebrate Earth Hour on March 31, like the rest of the world. First of all, the rest of the world doesn’t have load-shedding as frequently as in Pakistan, and secondly, we celebrate Earth Hour all year round, making us the biggest champion of the cause to protect the planet!
They say that Earth Hour is a serious issue and one must not write against it. Is it a bigger issue than load-shedding that we experience daily in all parts of the country? Is it a bigger problem than the losses in millions we attain due to the absence of electricity to the industries? Is it more serious an issue than the non-availability of electricity in a local hospital where patients are operated upon under standby generators because the electricity doesn’t show up? I don’t think it is more serious than countless scenarios like these, because it is not for us, people living in third world countries.
Pakistan might be a country in the same league as neighbouring India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka but the energy crisis is worse here. The first priority of the other governments in the region is to facilitate the public, whereas in Pakistan, the public is the least favored commodity for the rulers. We have electricity shortage leading to riots in industrial cities, yet the President and Prime Minister continue their tours abroad. Industries are on the brink of shutdown in the country due to absence of power, yet the politicians call for a shutter-down strike because of their own political agendas.
Does any other country have such issues to deal with, with the Earth Hour nearing? No. Should the people of a country with unstable economy be made to switch off their lights so that they can do what other progressive nations do? No. Should we celebrate Earth Hour in a time when faces of those witnessing load-shedding lighten up with the arrival of electricity? Not at all.
It’s true we only have one planet. It’s also true that we can help protect it by participating in the largest single campaign for the planet – Earth Hour. But will turning off our lights for an hour on March 31st ensure that we would be able to turn it on later, when we want, rather than the electricity suppliers send it our way? Will celebrating Earth Hour mean that the next time we need electricity; it will be there, waiting for us? I doubt that, and that’s one of the millions of reasons why I will not be switching off my lights. I will use them as long as I can, or as long as the electricity suppliers let me!