Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Columnist is in the dark about Earth Hour message

(The following is a letter to the editor I wrote in response to a ridiculous column by former Sun editor Lorrie Goldstein. His syndicated column ran in the Barrie Examiner, but also at least 16 other Sun Media papers, so I sent my response to all of them. Four of those papers (plus the Examiner) ran versions of my letter.)

Dear Editor:

I’m amazed columnist Lorrie Goldstein can’t comprehend the theme of Earth Hour. (March 25: “Earth Hour: Lights off, nobody home”)

He seems to believe it some kind of anti-electricity protest, by people who hate electric energy. What a crock!

Earth Hour is not about spurning electrification, turning off refrigeration or life-saving medical equipment to return to a romantic Dark Ages or any such thing. It’s about avoiding unnecessary electrical uses for a single hour of the year, to raise awareness of conservation and waste.

Electricity is indeed a blessing of civilization, something developing nations desperately need. Yet worshipping needless waste will not improve our life or theirs. Sure, there are trade-offs in burning coal to power hospitals or industry. But what’s to be gained burning coal to light rooms we’re not even in, or power TVs no-one is watching?

Earth Hour educates us to the value and convenience of electricity – something we can better access and share if we conserve, rather than squander it.

Will that wisdom light Goldstein’s house for 60 minutes Saturday night, or will his home be a shining beacon of contrarian ignorance along his darkened street that hour?

(Note: on the same day that the Barrie Examiner ran my letter, they ran one with a similar theme by my friend, Don McNeil. Neither of us were aware of the other's letter.)

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