The Business of Earth Hour

front20130323Later on this evening (between 8:30 and 9:30 pm, to be precise), the Philippines will join 151 other countries around the world in celebrating Earth Hour, an annual exercise in environmental slacktivism that began in Sydney, Australia in 2007. The main activity of Earth Hour is, of course, switching off one’s residential and other non-essential lighting for one hour as “a symbolic gesture encouraging people from all over the world to commit to more sustainable lifestyles through smarter choices,” according to the Earth Hour page on the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) Philippines website. Fueled by heavyweight corporate sponsorships and a global population who have become accustomed to social media-inspired “symbolic gestures,” Earth Hour has become increasingly elaborate, with dozens of “events” scheduled to mark the occasion.

To be fair to the WWF, the organization behind Earth Hour, at least some attempt is made to deliver the message that the single hour is not an end in itself, but should be used as inspiration to become more attentive to the environment and our impact on it. New this year is the “I Will if You Will” challenge, wherein people are invited to pose an environmentally-related challenge to others; for example, Earth Hour Philippines Ambassador Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski has posted a challenge that she will donate 500 trees to the Abuan Watershed if 500 people stop smoking for at least 5 days. On a somewhat sillier note, WWF-Philippines Ambassador Marc Nelson has pledged to kiteboard from Boracay to Panay wearing a panda hat if 1,000 people pledge to use reusable coffee cups.

Inasmuch as we might give the organizers and supporters credit for good intentions, when one begins to take a hard look at who’s behind Earth Hour and what it really accomplishes, the entire event seems a bit dubious.

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11 Replies to “The Business of Earth Hour”

  1. Earth Hour, despite its intentions for environmental awareness, ultimately doesn’t do anything. Here’s what an ecology blog had to say about it:

    “For something to be effective, it needs to be practiced consistently and regularly, not once a year and for one hour. Spend all this time and energy to teach people how to make a difference in their daily lives, not shut off their lights for 1 measly hour and leave them on while they take naps in front of the television, which will just make these gals and chaps feel absolved of any guilt because ‘I JOINED EARTH HOUR.’


  2. Intent of the article is understood. Perspective indeed comes to play. Yet I can say in a way, “better do something than NOTHING”.(Regardless of what anyone says about it)

    1. On the other hand, I’ll hand it to BenK on exposing the seemingly “pretentious” nature of what corporations(like of Fairfax media) call “corporate social responsibility”. Earth Hour is not essentially a bad idea(not a complete BS) but to bash corporations by being “less committed” than how they actually claim(or hype) it.

    2. On the other hand, I’ll give some kudos to BenK for somehow “exposing” the seemingly pretentious nature of what corporationslike of Fairfax media(being a substantial shareholder of WWF) call “corporate social responsibility”. Earth Hour is not essentially a bad idea(not a complete BS)

      But let us bash corporations(such as Fairfax) for hyping up something that is in fact, preaching something that they are less committed on actually doing it.(Putting money where their mouth is)

  3. Reports show that the United States topped the Earth Hour participation with an estimated 80,000,000 people, 318 cities and 8 states participating. The Philippines saw participation from 647 cities and towns or over 15 million Filipinos were estimated to have joined in the hour-long lights-off at 8:30 – 9:30 PM local time. This was followed by Greece with 484 cities and towns participating, and Australia with 309.:.


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