Many people are going to join the mob and celebrate Earth Hour tonight. The claim is that there will be more than 1 Billion participants. But I, along with others, question if that estimate includes people in countries that don’t have enough electricity to make the choice to turn out their lights. Of course, they don’t have the choice to acquire electricity whereas anyone can choose to stop using human technology if they wish. Put another way, this "celebration" isn't pro-earth, it is anti-man and anti-innovation.
Or, in the words of Keith Lockitch,
Earth Hour makes the renunciation of energy seem like a big party.
Participants spend an enjoyable sixty minutes in the dark, safe in the knowledge that the life-saving benefits of industrial civilization are just a light switch away. This bears no relation whatsoever to what life would actually be like under the sort of draconian carbon-reduction policies that climate activists are demanding: punishing carbon taxes, severe emissions caps, outright bans on the construction of power plants.
Forget one measly hour with just the lights off. How about Earth Month, without any form of fossil fuel energy? Try spending a month shivering in the dark without heating, electricity, refrigeration; without power plants or generators; without any of the labor-saving, time-saving, and therefore life-saving products that industrial energy makes possible.
When you put it that way, this "celebration" doesn't sound anywhere near as "cool" or "desireable" does it? If it still does, then how about it? Those who want to "celebrate Earth"... how about celebrating "Earth Month" without any form of fossil fuel energy for a month? You can start right now... turn off every electrical and fuel-burning thing in your home and/or office. Oh, yeah... that means you can't drive anywhere in your vehicle(s), and it includes turning off your cell phone, TV, computer, and the connection to the internet.
Here in the Mtn. View, our all-wise city council is going to spend up to $500 to pay employees to turn off all the lights for an hour. What a waste. They're going to pay people extra to go around and turn lights off, sit around for an hour, and then turn them all back on. Why not just make it a common practice to turn off lights when leaving a room? Or, better yet, install motion sensors and timers so that in the long-term energy and money is saved. That works well in private business, why not implement that in the public sector?
But I digress. Continuing on with Lockitch's comments...
Those who claim that we must cut off our carbon emissions to prevent an alleged global catastrophe need to learn the indisputable fact that cutting off our carbon emissions would be a global catastrophe. What we really need is greater awareness of just how indispensable carbon-based energy is to human life (including, of course, to our ability to cope with any changes in the climate).
It is true that the importance of Earth Hour is its symbolic meaning. But that meaning is the opposite of the one intended. The lights of our cities and monuments are a symbol of human achievement, of what mankind has accomplished in rising from the cave to the skyscraper. Earth Hour presents the disturbing spectacle of people celebrating those lights being extinguished. Its call for people to renounce energy and to rejoice at darkened skyscrapers makes its real meaning unmistakably clear: Earth Hour symbolizes the renunciation of industrial civilization.
If you don't want to celebrate lights and progress being extinguished, what's the alternative? Is there another celebration we can participate in? One that promotes progress rather than regress?
How about Human Achievement Hour.
This week CEI announced the creation of Human Achievement Hour (HAH) to be celebrated at 8:30pm on March 28th 2009 (the same time and date of Earth Hour).
Our press release described ways people might celebrate the achievements of humanity such as eating diner, seeing a film, driving around, keeping the heat on in your home—all things that Earth Hour celebrators, presumably, should be refraining from. In the cheekiest manner, we claimed that anyone not foregoing the use of electricity in that hour is, by default, celebrating the achievements of human beings.
If you're reading this, you have a choice. You can either celebrate the destruction of innovation, the extinguishment of progress, and moving backwards, or you can celebrate progress, achievement, and moving forward.
Either way, please celebrate responsibly. :-)