I love this planet. I really do. And I, too, love and respect our celebrity culture (I do hope you know what I mean). But to have Alanis Morisette and Edward Norton on Larry King as our national experts on conservation? Please. I don't know either of these people, but I do think it speaks volumes about our country and culture that it takes a Canadian former child actor and chanteuse and an actor that was dumb enough to allow a breakup with Salma Hayek to be our national experts on Larry King Live about how to save the environment. Are they even part of the environment? How about someone with some credentials? Paul Reubens, maybe. Or George Clooney, a pretty well-informed cat, I'm led to understand.
Further, and this is the cynic in me - is the savings that happens from people shutting off their power for an hour on a mild spring night really going to put any dent in the problem? Is it actually even going to provide people with the education and incentive they need to go green?
I regret to say, I don't think so. I mean, I think that there may be a significant amount of money saved if you pool the international light bill for that hour. But I don't think that even that savings is going to amount to a significant impact on the environment, unless it is repeated daily. Or unless the money goes to proper education and subsidization of environmentally friendly energy sources for folks other than Alanis and Edward. And if things go as they have, they'll need those two to host the video, which will eat up the savings because they only do one thing for free per year, and that was Larry King (note to their lawyers, I know I'm simplifying and I'm sure their hearts are in the right place - I blame the booker).
But the other point is that we are no longer influenced by an activist culture. I know. I tried. I really did! I had all these 1960s ideals. I listened to the Byrds and the Youngbloods and Dylan (20 years after those messages stopped being relevant). I protested that first Gulf intervention in 91 (there's an FBI file with my name on it somewhere to prove it). Sure, in the 90s, being an activist was cool, and somewhat effective. Remember those multicolored rubber bands everyone was wearing for awareness of everything to biker cancer to leprosy? But now, they're just another accessory. And remember AIDS education? And Rock The Vote? These things worked. But now everyone's pregnant, and for God's sake, AIDS is still on the rise outside the US. At least we elected President Obama. Some good came of it, but I think that was the Internet, not activism (which I know if more people read my blog they would argue it's the same thing). Remember Woodstock? If you're reading this, then the chances are you don't remember the first one (except maybe you, Peter, and I hope you're reading). But do you remember the second one? Peace and Music my eye! As I recall, it was acid, mud, and then lighting things on fire. Activists indeed.
So let's all kill the lights for an hour and see how it helps the environment. I think the best shot we have is to see a jump in the population in about nine months, but if that's not further strain on the environment and our resources, then I don't know what is...
So yes, I'm a cynic about these things. If you're going to try, try. If you're not, don't turn out the lights and pretend for an hour to help yourself feel "involved." And for God's sake, use a condom!
So until next time, when I'm likely to be batting away helicopters from the Empire State Building, just do as I say and not as I do, and everything will be alright.