World Wide Fund for Nature made a commitment to organize Earth Hour on the 23rd March, from 2030 PST to 2130 PST. People across Pakistan were supposed to switch off their lights for a complete one hour and celebrate the cut in carbon emission. Since the climatic change is over-whelming and the world is emitting fumes that are harming the ozone layer, such a step not only proves to be useful, it also creates a sense of responsibility among the youth and a desire to be part of a movement.
But does it really have the desired impact in a country like Pakistan- in particular Karachi?
Karachi is a complex and beautiful city. Its beauty arises from the myriad of ethnicities it houses. Being a metropolitan city it also has a lot of foreign people residing and at least a few of them claiming to love it. The city has its rush hours, its pollution, its crowds, its noise, but then which metro doesn’t. It has a myriad of issues, with broken roads, some broken telephone wires and biggest of all the tickling and playing electricity. The city that is awake at night and that refuses to sleep, although it is not safe at night these days, has one issue that has an effect of a plague. Electricity!
Last year alone the outages at a minimum were 3 hours per day. If we see that on a 10 month scale, excluding the winter months which are better, that would amount to 822 hours. In some areas of Karachi the outages were 14 hours at a stretch. Furthermore, some areas even had 18 hours without any electric supply. If the numbers are to be calculated the scale would tip to around 4500 hours. If in the last year alone Earth enjoyed around 4500 hours of no-carbon hours from Karachi alone, just imagine what was the contribution of Pakistan to ‘Earth HourS’ in 2012 alone!!!
The argument that comes here is that people had generators of some sort to switch on lights. I ask- how many people can afford that type of luxury? No doubt the sales rose, but so did the prices. Even with the power generation units, people prefer to power up single or two units only. They prefer not to power the whole house since it requires a lot of energy and resources.
Why celebrate Earth Hour!
With such a huge contribution in millions of precious hours already made by the whole Pakistan- does it really matter if we ‘celebrate’ Earth Hour with the rest of the world. I don’t think so. I believe the rest of the world should recognize the contribution Pakistan has already made to the world at large. Power outages whether created or genuine have markedly reduced the carbon footprint and by celebrating the Earth Day we not just undermine our contribution, we also don’t admit it.
On 23rd March the mausoleum of the Quaid was darkened because of the Earth Hour. I ask the whole nation, “Does the man who gave you a country deserve a dark mausoleum, on Pakistan Day? Doesn’t that make you feel ashamed or make you feel a tiny bit disturbed? The man gave the people a place to live and fresher air to breathe, and what we give him at the 66th anniversary of Pakistan Day is a dark forgotten hour to celebrate with the earth!!!! Not with Pakistan or with our land to say the least.”