A Blaze of Conceit Will Light up the World


As you are doubtless apprised, the world is headed for fiery hell by means of a hand cart. The hand cart, which I imagine to be wrought from polymethyl and the suffering of others, is laden with genetically modified foods and bits of corporate tinsel. As conceit and carbon emit from a shopping vehicle that can no longer be sustained thanks to our avarice and bad taste, we can assuage our terror at the demise of the planet with two happy facts.

First, Al Gore has manfully marshalled a subsidiary career as a power point hero. Second, hand-spun busybodies who might once have campaigned for local council are now busy coordinating Earth Hour.

If you haven’t already heard, Earth Hour ticks over this weekend. The plucky initiative of some Sydney geezer, this event promotes a global switching off of lights, Bamix hand-held mixers and sundry small electricals.

Sadly, the stoic happening will not occur in glorious international simulcast. This is no doubt due to the bias of Universal Time. If the Earth Hour people were to insist on a synchronized global power hiatus, we poor Australians would be suffering through a DVD intermission while our sleeping fellows in Connecticut missed their chance at enacting an eye-catching outage.

Thanks to Sharyn Raggett

What, after all, would be the point of unconscious power saving? If one’s efforts to save the earth are unnoticed, they hardly count.

To be clear: I’m all for saving the planet. I’m quite fond of plants, water and lungs relatively untrammelled by the ravages of capital. Further, I am not an ultraconservative right-wing blogger who amuses himself in the work of bashing out malarkey that gainsays common scientific opinion viz the earth is stuffed. I’m all in favour of doing something or other to halt the giddy torrents of waste etc.

But I’m not entirely convinced that an hour of conspicuous under-consumption is the answer. And I don’t care particularly that these efforts are sincere or might just pass for "consciousness raising." Foremost, I’m suspicious of any ostensibly wholesome event that is supported by Triple M.

But Triple M, an organisation that would surely bust in a cap and trade exchange of hot air, is one of Earth Hour’s more blameless sponsors. Event organiser, the World Wide Fund for Nature, has taken the world’s shiniest and most efficient purveyor of trans fats aboard its ship of fools. McDonalds, an enterprise of which you may have heard, will take pause in its annual donation of a million tons of packaging and dim its lights for an hour.

A flotilla of superior cuisinartists too have joined the WWF. Just as long as the cautious diner refrains from calculating the environmental cost of his rare wagyu fillet, he can conflate privilege with protest. And the rest of us can eat our burgers with imagined impunity.

Bugger off. And Richard Branson and his jets can naff off too. I’m going to be offsetting the last plane ride I took to see my Olds for the next five years. What’s Richard doing about his convoy of carbon? Other than using the guileless shield of Earth Hour to obscure it.

A typically optimistic riposte to naive, compromised rubbish like Earth Hour will run, "Well, if it helps just one person change their ways, the world will be a better place."

This credo, so often evoked in bleeding heart enterprise, might be plausible in the cases of binge drinking, diabetes awareness week et al. But, to yelp the obvious, it is entire economies and overarching corporate practices that must change. The individual savouring sumac by the smug glow of a paraffin lamp just ain’t going to cut it.

Milder cynics will insist that Earth Hour will do little harm. As a grumpy bastard, I insist upon the opposite. This showy misuse of compassion transforms a critical concern into the individual’s Chance to Shine. We’ll need no lights on Saturday evening. The blaze of conceit will light up the world.

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