Saturday, 29 March 2008

Reporting Earth Hour

I wonder how much advertising a church would have to buy in a newspaper in order to get breathless front page coverage of its events, of the sort that is given to Earth Hour.

Buried deep in the linked article is this statement:

Critics gleefully pointed out that the total amount of power saved was the equivalent of taking about six standard cars off the road for a year.

If this is supposed to be reporting, what is the word 'gleefully' doing in that sentence? Isn't it possible that some critics were not gleeful at all, but 'soberminded' or 'thoughtful'?

But this is a minor quibble.

The real question is, given the massive amount of energy (literally) expended in publicizing and promoting the event, is it really worth it on any terms? Aren't we teaching people that a small and essentially ineffective action that saves virtually nothing, and yet has taken a massive amount of organization and publicity to achieve, is enough to establish their green credentials and salve their consciences?

It seems to me that anyone who has a genuine concern for the environment will want to reject this piece of unhelpful tokenism for what it is.

I have questions along similar lines about churches that spend massive time, people-power and sometimes money organizing evangelistic events that almost no outsider turns up to. But that is for another day.


Jason Porter said...

You are my kind of person, Gordon.

Hope you don't me saying so :)

Anonymous said...

I have mixed views on this.

Honestly, I think it's a waste of time. It gives us [and I include myself in this] middle-class people a feeling of doing something, which really doesn't make a lot of difference in the long term. And we all love action that doesn't cost us much yet makes us feel as if we are doing something. Why not look at turning lights off each night [not of the entire city, but buildings/floors that are not used 24 hours a day]?

Then again, it does bring the issue to people's attention.

But I just do not think the publicity is in any way measured or reasonable; a quick look at the SMH online [I'm saving the environment by not buying the 200kg Saturday edition :)] has the writers in spasms of ecstasy over how 'Earth Hour' has taken off.

Craig Bennett said...

We didn't participate for the boys school had a chapel service last night which I didn't attend.

Because I'm unsteady on my feet and extremely clumsy in the dark, it would have been both dangerous and silly for me to rely on candle power.

As for the evangelistic events, I think we often set ourselves up to fail because we don't truly understand the dynamics of the those we are trying to reach. Our previous church held an annual bushdance which was not all that well attended by the locals. Yet someone from Chatswood came down for it.

The silly thing is that one of the local business's that went bust was the Woolshed which was the home of bush dancing...yet we would still go ahead with it... and be disappointed when no one would turn up.

Sophie said...

You're right. It's much more impressive to say that it's the equivalent of taking 2190 cars off the road for a day.