Tuesday, 7 April 2009


Susan lights up over lights out.

susanryder Yes, it was a week ago, but sheer nonsense deserves to be scorned and Earth Hour (or Flat Earth Hour as I prefer to call it) deserves to be super-scorned, such is its silliness.

I was first alerted to FEH whilst in Australia this time last year. I was browsing through the Sydney Morning Herald when I saw a full-page advertisement heralding the event, incorporating a mass-gathering in a city park to which the public was encouraged to attend, for the following Saturday evening. “What’s all this about?” I asked my brother-in-law. “Don’t know” he replied, looking equally mystified. “First I’ve heard of it. That ad must have cost a fortune, though!”

You can say that again. I know nothing of SMH rates, but a similar request to The New Zealand Herald about 15 years ago produced a quote well in advance of $20,000. So pick a figure and make it a big one.

Back to the story. I started to read the ad. I hadn’t finished the first sentence before my eyes were rolling and by the time I’d finished, they’d done a full 360. I learned that in the name of all that was Green and Good, the power being turned off in the first world was going to save dwindling resources which would preserve the planet and help the third world. Hallelujah!

I guessed that I was meant to feel that warm glow of collective responsibility, basking in the happiness that I would be doing “my bit” toward planet security and the public good. All I needed was my state-supplied shovel and I could have been that smiling worker looking out over abundant crops, so beloved by the Kremlin. (Only the crops weren’t abundant, the workers had bugger all to smile about and here in New Zealand, the state-supplied shovels were mainly used to lean on!). But I digress.

I skipped the warm glow and went straight to cold fury. The rhetoric and sentiments expressed were pure sophistry, with the architects eschewing progress and reason. In essence, they were thumbing their collective noses at civilisation itself.

I decided to forget about it. Well, I was on holiday. Saturday rolled around and we spent a gorgeous day at the northern beaches. After getting home we decided to grab some takeaways for dinner, so jumped in the car to drive five minutes to the Thai place in the next suburb. Well, that was the plan. It was 7pm.

To our annoyance the city-bound traffic (our direction) was barely moving. We were going nowhere fast through ordinary residential streets, while the opposing traffic sailed by unimpeded.

The penny dropped. Rudd’s useful idiots were all hightailing it into town for the communal love-in, albeit that they were ‘turning off’, rather than ‘turning on.’ But being the affluent northern suburbs, the traffic overwhelmingly consisted of 4WD’s belching out fumes for, well, Africa actually!

Evidently, celebrating the love-in and all it stood for didn’t include the chardonnay socialists embracing “green” public transport to get there! I loved the irony of causing traffic jams and carbon emissions to protest traffic and carbon emissions! And they undoubtedly suffered a delayed trip home, too. Ha!

It wasn’t until I came home a few days later that I learned that FEH had been a global event -- well, automatically excluding the people who would love to have access to electricity, that is. It screamed the UN and its fellow travellers and I thought no more about it, until the ads for this year’s event started to appear a few weeks ago.

The usual suspects jumped in to show their solidarity, although I noticed that organisations made sure it didn’t adversely affect themselves personally. For example, while some were calling for power off, TVNZ repeatedly reminded us to “turn the lights off”, as opposed to the power itself which would naturally include your television. I can’t imagine they wanted to lose an hour of valuable advertising revenue, especially given the current economic circumstances. Well, I’ll be. It seems that people have differing ideas as to what’s “good” for the planet, after all!

As for me, I’ve made a decision to avoid patronising any commercial hangers-on, those entities that spout their “Greenness,” their “carbon-friendly” this and “reducing their carbon-footprint” that. I have no time for Johnny-come-lately bandwagon-jumping in that I’ve chosen to practise a green lifestyle for years. My refuse is minimal by recycling everything I can – and I don’t just mean council recyclables which may not necessarily be viable anyway. I like to shop locally and support local merchants and none of my household products contain any harmful chemicals, meaning that nothing poisonous goes down my drains. I wonder how many Green party MPs and supporters can say that?

Perhaps the last word belongs to somebody very close to me, an avid football fan. “Earth Hour? Load of crap! The only people I know who turned off the lights during Earth Hour were the bloody Warriors against the Broncos!”

Give that woman a beer! And make it a cold one straight from the fridge!

* * Read Susan Ryder every Tuesday here at NOT PC * *

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