December 9, 2006

Cheesy, huh?

For some it will be a dim and hungry weekend, not because of the bushfires raging across some areas of Victoria; not because of sudden unemployment or illness; no, it would seem there are real people who will attempt to leave “no environmental footprint” for an entire weekend. The time commenced at 8.00 pm last night, and, as is obvious, I have not joined this frivolous experiment.

No numbers are available on how many households have signed up, and perhaps the organizers will never divulge the real figures.

I’m trying not to think about the volume of food in refrigerators thrown out prior to “switch off” time. Or did they pop everything into a neighbors fridge, ‘eh? I’m trying not to think about the number of energy-guzzling unplanned babies that may be born nine months hence. I’m trying not to think about the lunacy of believing that if you don’t walk into any business or shopping centre then you have reduced your environmental footprint. Last time I checked, shops tend to keep all of their power and equipment running, no matter if one or 100 customers are lurking about the place.

Mostly, I’m trying not to think about this bit of condescending PR fluffery:

“This is an invitation to stop consuming energy for two days and to think about it.

It's also about the joys of getting back to basics and finding out what you can do when you're not using power. Hey, you might even find yourself spending more time with family and friends. Crazy, huh?”

Think about it?

Anyone who has ever had a temporary blackout – and that’s everyone – already knows exactly what it’s like to suddenly be thrown back into the stone ages, albeit, with a comfortable bed, a box of matches and books to read.

The joys of getting back to basics? Really? Since when were any of the current generations, living in developed countries, even remotely acquainted with “basics”.

“Basics” would be having no home, having no food, having no income. Basic would be not being able to miraculously ramp your energy consumption back to 100% on the dot of 8.00 pm Sunday night. Basic is having to hunt and forage for your own food and kill animals for skins to make your clothes and shoes.

Spending more time with family and friends? Forgive me if I do not need a superficial and deluded environmentalist to tell me what my priorities in life should be, or how I should spend my time.

This is as artificial as it could possible get.

This is like taking the family camping for a weekend; a bit of tickle and fun, rather than a hardship. This is yet another token gesture of the modern Western age, where environmentalists can sit in comfort while demanding that the poor and starving be deprived of industry, because, you know, it’s so darned romantic to be cold and hungry and starving and living on a dollar a day.

This is the watermelon* syndrome at its worst and most insulting.

[*Green on the outside, red on the inside - as coined by James]


I’m so disgusted with this I can’t even write an entire post about it without turing into a blithering idiot.

Did I forget to mention that Melbourne has predicted temperatures of 37 and 35 degrees Celsius for the weekend?

SUFFER with your bags of ice!


Oh, was that “basic” and non energy consuming produced ice, was it now?

Update: Am I only person who has ever wondered how PETA members and vegetarians would have managed with just the basics, back in the dark ages, when the only clothing and footwear available was of the animal / fur variety?


  1. BRILLIANT take down!! Today the Herald Sun gave away free 'Make Poverty History' DVDs with the Herald Sun and I had similar thoughts as I watched it. It had people like Bono and Sarah Blasko, like, singing compassionately for the third world, but somehow making the most of the photo opportunities as well.

    Key quote: Sarah Blasko saying, "Next time we buy something, just THINK about how it's at the 3rd World's expense!"
    That's rich pop-singer logic for you: when WE buy something, it's at someone else's expense ...

  2. "... turing into a blithering idiot."

    It's happening before our eyes, Caz.

    Anyway, fair comment. This caper is such a piece of fluffy, wooly, feelgood, warm'n'fuzzy, foolish, tokenistic, etc. etc. etc.

    ... he wrote as he typed the comment into the laptop connected to the web via the desktop in the other room, whilst luxuriating in the cool air from the central evaporative cooling system, sipping on a tinny, hauled in bulk from interstate by a gaia-marauding fossil-fuel driven monster truck, made icy-cold by the fridge working overtime.

    Bloody vandals!

  3. I seriously believe we could take care of all world disturbances by having a great big THINK A THON.



    Now, back to thinking - ALL of you - THINK, damn you THINK!

  4. Anonymous11:22 PM

    I have gotta be blunt here Caz!

    There are quite a few people who are fucked in the head!

    All the thinkin' in the world ain't going to make a difference. (Sad but true)

  5. Sooo, I take it you're not agreeing with Sarah Blasko:

    "Next time we buy something, just THINK about how it's at the 3rd World's expense!"

    You're not going to THINK about that next time you buy a loaf of bread and a carton of milk?

    Jeez, well, bang goes the revolution before we even got out of the driveway in the four wheel drive. Damn!

  6. I had to live with no water or power for a week after a hurricane.

    It got really depressing eating cheese crackers and drinking bottled juice on the front steps.

    No air conditioning and no showers.
    It was in the 90s and very humid.

    We had a few spoons, forks and knives that we just wiped off.

    The toilet wouldn't flush.

    A few people were killed because they had crashes. The traffic lights were not working.

    Also, you can't buy gas when the electric is down.

    I had a full tank and cash, so I could go for ice and to work.

  7. I always thought the done thing was not to THINK about stuff, but to FEEL STRONGLY. You know, because the person who feels compassion for the third world is superior to the one who doesn't.

  8. That would have been awful thing during hot weather Snaps. Sounds as though you held up okay though, under trying circumstances.

    Quite some years back (while I was still up in Canberra, thank goodness), there was a massive accident at a gas plant in Melbourne and some areas of the city had no gas for months - that was winter time. A lot of people couldn't cook, or have a hot shower, or turn on heating, mostly this went on for several weeks, but some areas had to wait much longer to have gas back on. Don't know how well I would have coped under those circumstances; a few days, sure, a week, stressful, several weeks - I think I would have been getting mighty testy, but as you do, I suppose I would have adapted, as did hundreds of thousands of people at the time.

    No water and no electricity would be more dire than no gas. Cheese and crackers and juice would normally be a very pleasant addition to sitting on the front steps, but I can well imagine that one would be desparate for a nice roast lamb and a hot cup of coffee by about the second day. :-)

  9. But Timmy, imagine what we could achieve if we combined THINKING and FEELING STRONGLY?

    We could have a THINK AND FEEL STRONGLY Athon!

    My goodness, perhaps we CAN change the world after all.

    I think I might feel very strongly about this idea. (But let me get back to you, in due course.)