Sunday, March 30, 2008

Shame On You

One thing about symbolic gestures, they reveal much as it relates to commitment, intent. Yesterday, John Baird took the airwaves, and was asked why his government had done nothing to promote earth hour, why it was he only spoke on the matter at the last minute. Of course, Baird offered the usual, he was focused on real results, blah, blah, blah. That's fine, nobody every assumed that earth hour had any concrete solutions, it was always a small gesture.

I was pleased to see my entire neighborhood went dark, apart from one "cheater", the gray glow of the television particularly bright on this night. The people that decided to "boycott", so beyond ridiculous, have exposed themselves for the selfish, narrow, unproductive irrelevants that most of us already knew. Whatever, they are clearly in the minority, given the awareness of our youth, they will simply die out ouver time like other dinosaurs of the past.

What is really inexcusable, the leader of our country, the guy who makes all these grandiose claims about the "greatest challenge the earth faces", takes a pass, and in so doing exposes himself for the charlatan he really is:
The ever-illuminated Peace Tower on Parliament Hill went black at the stroke of 8 p.m., as did the lighted "Canada" signs that adorn federal buildings in the capital.

Stornoway, official residence of Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion, was almost impossible to find among the mansions in Ottawa's upscale Rockliffe neighbourhood. Dion, a former environment minister, even delivered a speech by candlelight in Toronto to a gala dinner recognizing Greek independence.

Rideau Hall, home to Governor General Michaëlle Jean, was dark and federal Environment Minister John Baird was at his Nepean home "with the lights off, of course," said spokesperson Eric Richer.

But two ground-floor rooms in Harper's house stayed on and inquiries to a PMO spokesperson were not returned. The third-floor offices on Parliament Hill that house the Prime Minister's Office were also among the few lights that stayed on, prompting a jeer from a handful of Green Party activists who had gathered in the cold to mark the occasion.

A small gesture, but in another sense it says it all. Stephen Harper is "not a leader", he's a fraud.


Gayle said...

I'm afraid I did not go completely dark. I left my home dark but was at a long-ago arranged blues band concert to celebrate my brother's 50th, and the blues is not often played accoustically...

I will make up for it tonight.

I doubt a lot of people here went dark given that the Oilers were beating the Flames last night.

Harper has no such excuse. The Leaf's are already eliminated.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! I was singin' the blues last night, too. Ma an' I took the mutts out fer their nightly walk between 8 an' 9. We probbly walked past 80-100 houses or more in the 3 mile walk around our little town. I only seen 3 houses with candles burnin'. Most o' the rest was business as usual.

Our municipality didn't get on board so maybe that's why the locals didn't pay much attention.

At least I didn't see any "conservatives" wastin' more than usual.


MarkCh said...

I took a cab yesterday, around 9 PM, and chatted with the driver, a man from Pakistan. He talked about how electricity was rarely available for more than a few hours a day where he lived, and how light was therefore incredibly precious.

The symbolism of Earth Hour is about rejecting the blessings of technology, the addition to the human spirit given by light, and returning to a Dark Ages existence. I found it repellent. The fact that the people promoting it are pampered inhabitants of one of the wealthiest countries in the world, with no clue whatsoever about what it would be like to live without artificial light, only makes it more ludicrous.

Steve V said...


You are attaching a bunch of nonsense to a pretty self-evident, simplistic symbolism. I honestly don't get where you guys come from, how anyone can be so cynical about a simple notion of conservation.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! Well Markch, if we keep up our wastefulness, we'll all be able to experience those blackouts just like the third world.

"Blessings of technology"? Do you belong to some techno-worship cult?

Sending a symbolic message regarding the fragile nature of our energy supply is not repellent to individuals who are concerned about the fate of our planet. Consciousness was raised and many open-minded people took notice.

Here in my little town, we have power failures a few times a year. The hydro goes out for anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. AS the coal plants are closed and nuclear fails to come in on time (or on budget), we'll be having more and more of these.


Karen said...

Good grief. markch must have stayed up late dreaming up that drivel.

Our neighbourhood went dark except for one house.

It was nice. We made a great dinner, ate by candle light and had a fantastic conversation with no distractions.

Of course Harper is a fraud. Was there ever any doubt?

I heard that Alberta's electricity consumption actually went up last night. I'm not sure what is behind those numbers but it would be interesting to find out.

Ti-Guy said...

I found it repellent.

That's what you find repellent?

You actually demonstrate the pampered existence you're railing about. You obviously don't have enough substantive problems in your life and have to make a concerted effort to go looking for something to repel you.

I suggest you go live in the 3rd World. If a blackout is the most repellent thing you experience, you'll indeed be blessed.

Heh. Just kidding. You know you made that point just to be stupid, Admit it, apologise, and we'll move on.

Anyway, I hope liberals/lefties/progressives are having a "Don't Take a Lot of Pills and Overdose Day" soon. I'm looking forward to the Right's dissent on that one.

Gayle said...

KNB - quite honestly I believe the hockey game had a lot to do with the energy consumption in Alberta last night. It was an important game and most people here support one of the teams.

I think it is more likely that accounts for the energy increase rather than a deliberate attempt to counter earth hour.

Karen said...

gayle, that would make sense. I hope you're right.

Anonymous said...

"Harper has no such excuse. The Leaf's are already eliminated."

Well, his hockey book is overdue for many years and the Calgary Flames are in a life and death struggle...

RuralSandi said...

I live in rural Ontario and are whole town had lights out with a few exceptions. It was so peaceful.

One elderly neighbour had her lights out except one - she felt wanted to have all lights out but has sight problems and needed the light in case she had to go to the washroom or something. When I went over to check on her, she was so apologetic and the neighbours assured her her heart was in the right place.

It was so nice to have conservation by candle light without TV, stereo and other distractions.

Enjoyed it and ready to do it again. Would be nice in the summer candle light, sitting on the deck for a few hours just talking.

Tomm said...


I'm not surprised at your viewpoint, but I am surprised that you don't see the corporate elite's shadow behind this.

I am clearly one of your narrow, selfish, unproductive, irrelevant, dinosaurs.

Did you know that the last hour of darkness was used as a wedge by the World Wildlife Fund to show how much social action they can cause? Did you know they have translated that into bilateral agreements with multinational corporations where they get cash dollars for their "CEO to CEO advice" and joint presence?

Blackmail is such a harsh word, perhaps it is just an honest partnership between those corporations that wish a stronger relationship with the WWF and are willing to show their support through "gifts".

It reminds me of Don Corleone and those that seek his protection.

By supporting the one hour blackout, you also supported this wonderful new form of business relationship.

I'm not saying that we don't need to find ways to conserve energy, but I also see a new corporate elite emerging from these shadows. A corporate elite that the media doesn't want to "out".

I would still like to know why the WWF with its billions of dollars never raised a hand to protect the now apparently extinct Yantze River Dolphin.


Möbius said...

My neighbourhood got slightly darker.

They all have at least 3 SUV's in their respective driveways, and heated swimming pools in the backyards, but at least they made a show of it.

Steve V said...

Is there one Conservative supporter alive, who doesn't have to criticize or qualify??? No wonder Harper is such a stooge on the environment, his base is just dreadful.

Tomm said...


We need to use less energy.

Why does that necessarily transmit itself as a strident supporter of some mass demonstration?


sassy said...

"Did you know they have translated that into bilateral agreements with multinational corporations where they get cash dollars for their "CEO to CEO advice" and joint presence?"

"I would still like to know why the WWF with its billions of dollars never raised a hand to protect the now apparently extinct Yantze River Dolphin."

I would appreciate any links you can provide on the above two statements.

Thanks much.

Steve V said...


Why would anyone bother to resist, if they really believed that? Do resist a moment of silence on Rembrance Day, is that a mass demonstration?

Anyways, my point, every Con has to qualify, or whatever else, instead of just saying not a bad idea, nothing to serious, can't hurt. It's quite revealing actually, the kneejerk posture.

Tomm said...


The 3 links identify Lafarge (multi-national mining and cement maker) as a partner with the WWF.

Page 9:$file/ToughDialoguePaysOffHowLafargeAndWWFMakeTheirPartnershipWorkToHelpPreserveTheWorldsEcologicalBalance.pdf


Its not the same as a moments silence on Rememberance Day. Although, if I can make my own personal statement about saving the world's energy by buying smaller vehicles, riding bikes, walking, and changing my stock portfolios than I think those are appropriate things to do. I also ensure others know my viewpoints on the earth's future without change.

Responding to a mass madia "event" sponsored by a multi-national corporation who will leverage my participation, is not my first choice.


Steve V said...


Again, you will note all the baggage attached to such a simple thing, indicative of pre-determined motives. The more you undermine a gesture, on the part of average people, by finding the "evil", the more you reveal yourself and what your political leanings force you to focus on.

Tomm said...


The business about the Yangtze River Dolphin and the WWF not supporting research or other saving operations was from a CBC radio interview with a researcher who took two boats up the Yang Tze and did not find any individulas. It may have been Samuel Turvey, but I don't recall. Whoever it was, pointedly said that he had tried to get WWF funding for a considerable period of time without success yet the WWF knew that the dolphin was very close to extinction and capturing for captive breeding was critically required.

Sorry I couldn't find a link.

You might be more successful.


sassy said...


YIP, and I did check out the links (thanks tomm) but they do not explain the rational behind the movement to counter Earth Hour (sorry tomm).

See what has to say about the Financial Post article(s).

Seems to me that the point is still out there, and to me that was/is, if you don't want to participate fine but why the counter actions.

The expression "do no harm" comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

Edmonton was still light outside , as in daylight, at 8:00. So we didn't need lights until about 8:45.

Mark Dowling said...

At 2015EDT on Saturday, Mayor Miller had left Earth Hour for Car Heaven.

Frak, even I did better than that.

Steve V said...


Unlike Harper, Miller did events for Earth Hour. That link is a whole lotta nothing.