Saturday, March 26, 2011

Earth Hour 2011: good intentions or greenwash?

Earth Hour: Lights on or lights off?
Today is the last Saturday in March, so this evening at 8:30 pm, people all over the world will turn off their lights for an hour to raise awareness about a variety of green issues.  Of course many good-hearted greens will use the time to think sincerely about what else they might do to be earth friendly, or they will use Earth Hour as a chance to educate their friends, family and neighbors about the massive environmental problems we all face. On the other hand, many political, entertainment and business leaders will use Earth Hour as a low-cost opportunity to prove they are 'green,' when in fact they actively pursue earth-unfriendly policies and/or lifestyles during the rest of the year. For those people, Earth Hour really is just a way to cloak themselves or their companies with a thick coat of greenwash.

That's one reason why Delhi environmental activist Nagraj Adve leaves his lights on in silent protest during Earth Hour. Adve's Earth Hour guest post here last year resulted in a few angry emails, but it clearly touched a nerve: it was re-run in all kinds of places and ended up in the Green Light Dhaba's all-time top-ten most-read list.

Whatever you feel about Earth Hour, do read Adve's post--it will make you think, whether you agree with him or not. And while you are thinking about light consumption, take a look at "Earth at Night" to find out which countries send the most light into space. (There's a lot of light coming from India, but not when you consider the population here; roughly 400 million Indians don't have access to electricity; for them, every hour is Earth Hour.)  

I've put together a list of our best posts on greenwash.  We're not against symbols here at the dhaba; hey, we just ran a World Water Day Special last week. But symbolic actions are intended to make us think. And Earth Hour is a great time to think about the dangers of greenwash. So read a few of won't be disappointed, and it probably won't even take you a full hour.

The Best of the Dhaba: Greenwash
 False advertising:  Priyanka Chopra: do we really need role models like this?
 Tell it like it is...   A phrase I hate: brand ambassador
 Annoying little things: Top 5 Commonwealth Games Pet Peeves
 Antidote:  The Story of Electronics: best known cure for the 'green paper fetish'
 Hard to believe: Flyovers reduce emissions and other examples of Delhi greenwash 
 Should've been:  Breaking News: Leak Reveals Chief Minister Dikshit is Planning Major Green Policy Shifts

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think?