Monday, March 24, 2008

How I Came to Think that Merely Feel Good Actions Do More

This year, 24 cities around the World will be part of Earth Hour by switching off lights and appliances from 8-9pm on Saturday. I used to think of this as the kind of project that is about as feel good a project as you can come up with – the kind of thing that breeds smugness while making (almost) no difference. The kind of thing that may actually diminish people’s likelihood of doing what really needs to be done – which will hurt a lot. But I have changed my mind. I still think the actual actions do (almost) no good. But what I think I ignored is the power of collectivity in drawing people into action that they would otherwise be unlikely to make on their own. Such imitative behavior, even when mindless, is an incredibly important engine that needs to be harnessed to bring about change. And what these kinds of actions do is get that process going. The real challenge is to capitalize on that initial success and build on it to more meaningful actions. Earth Hour is a project of the World Wild Fund for Nature which started the project in Sydney last year. This year’s cities are:
Aalborg, Denmark
Aarhus, Denmark
Adelaide, Australia
Atlanta, USA
Bangkok, Thailand
Brisbane, Australia
Canberra, Australia
Chicago, USA
Christchurch, New Zealand,
Copenhagen, Denmark
Dublin, Ireland
Manila, Philippines
Melbourne, Australia
Montreal, Canada
Odense, Denmark
Ottawa, Canada
Perth, Australia
Phoenix, USA
San Francisco, USA
Suva, Fiji
Sydney, Australia
Tel Aviv, Israel
Toronto, Canada
Vancouver, Canada

No comments: