Saturday, 26 March 2011

Earth Hour - what did you do?

Today they asked us to switch off the lights for an hour - in Dubai there is a large sign which says 'cut your carbon footprint'. It's large, it's very large and guess what it is lit by several extremely powerful arc lamps. These are probably the brightest lights at night in the City. Ironic or what?

Whatever you may think about the impact of human emissions of CO2 on the climate I think the Australian inspired Earth Hour is part of the political tidal wave to inspire us all to accept higher levels of taxation. Government's of the world are desperate to find a way of lifting money from our wallets. Time and again citizens grow tired of this light fingered tendency of governments to part us from our hard earned cash. So now the leverage is guilt - moral blackmail if you like. We will tax your consumption of energy as well as anything else we can get away with because it's good for the planet.

Well, I do not think for a moment that the governments are driven by the desire to save the planet. They need an excuse to relieve us of our cash that we will not complain about. Indeed, they hope we will acquiesce because we think those taxes are a good thing - after all who would not vote for saving the planet? But let's be clear that is not why they are doing it.

If they were really keen on saving humanity - I am sure the planet will be here long after humanity has disappeared - then they would do more to deal with the four horses of the environmental apocalypse. To help you remember them they all start with a P: population, pollution, poverty, and politics.

The inexorable rise in the human population is a product of our natural fecundity, our ability to reproduce even in circumstances where life is barely sustainable and of lack of education. Education is the best contraceptive there is. Poverty is the curse of humanity - that is the sort of poverty which sees women emaciated, children starving, and the destruction of habitat as desperate people spread further trying to cultivate marginal land. Population growth, allied with Poverty as well as the conspicuous over consumption of resources across the developed world brings about Pollution. Finally Politics or at least the politics as practiced across much of the planet. The politics of greed and of corruption. It is these 4P's - the four horses of our destruction - which we should all reflect on during the Earth hour. We need to think hard about what we are doing and not engage in futile gestures like turning down the lights.

No comments: