What a sorry spectacle! People in the world’s most developed countries turn off their brains and thus are guilt-tripped by environmentalists into turning off their lights for Earth Hour on Saturday. They visit upon themselves the curse of darkness that the poor in less developed countries pray will be lifted with an abundant supply of inexpensive electricity.
It would be one thing if the purpose of sitting sans illumination for one hour was to remind us of how wonderful it is to have energy for every modern convenience, and to encourage us rededicate ourselves to unleashing even more of it.
It would be one thing if the purpose was to remind us that we can cut our electric bills by clicking the off switch on lamps in rooms we’re not using though since it is our money, we know that anyway.
But the purpose of Earth Hour is “a massive show of concern for the environment.” It does not simply raise consciousness about real issues like polluted water or air that might harm human beings. It most of all perpetuates the radical environmentalist idea that the earth itself is of value apart from and even above humans, that it must be accorded “respect” as if it were a person, and that we humans must sacrifice our well-being and comfort in order to protect it from harm. Earth Hour perpetuates a wider, anti-human agenda.
Consider some of the efforts of the environmental extremists who are dedicated to limiting our access to inexpensive energy. They’re the ones behind the ban on tapping into an ocean of oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. That area is larger than ten of America’s states. The drilling rigs altogether would cover only the area of an international airport. And the only “wildlife” drilling would really disturb would be mosquitoes in the endless wastes of mud and muck in the summer.
They’re the ones who want to ban the Keystone pipeline that would bring oil from Canada because that oil is extracted from tar sands. What’s so bad about tar sands? Nothing, other than the fact that using them “disturbs” the environment,” like every other human activity.
Environmental extremists are the ones who want to ban “fracking,” a way of safely open up huge reserves of natural gas trapped deep below the surface. They and their Hollywood friends have created the fiction that fracking poisons the land, livestock, and people in the area. But no credible study, including those by the often-alarmist EPA, have found such a problem. For more info on this, check out the eye-opening movie FrackNation .
Those who want to fuzzy-mindedly feel good about themselves by turning off their lights on Saturday should reflect on what a boon it is to have electricity and what a burden it is to not have it.
Last summer the people in the Washington, D.C. area didn’t like one bit finding themselves in the position of their impoverished neighbors of other country. A storm knocked out the electricity, in some areas for a week. And D.C. in July without air conditioning, to say nothing of TV, internet, cell phones and anything needing plugs or chargers, underscores the meaning of primitive.
In fall 2012 Hurricane Sandy devastated houses, businesses, and lives in the northeast. Some 6 million people were without power in its wake. The misery was compounded for of hundreds of thousands who had to suffer without electricity in the following weeks.
Perhaps you’ve seen the now-iconic satellite photo of the East Asian area at night. We see lights forming a slight crescent-shape, the island of Japan, surrounded by the darkness of the sea. To the bottom left of the crescent we see another pattern of lights which looks like another island in the sea. Then a little further left we see a blaze of lights forming a huge Chinese mainland. But that seemingly isolated island is, in fact, South Korea. It is connected to the mainland via North Korea, which is virtually light-free; In North Korea, it’s Earth Hour every hour, a radical Gaea-worshipper’s paradise. (And there's no evil capitalism there, either!)|
Symbolism as well as substance matters. And the symbolism of Earth Hour is truly antithetical to human well-being. The “environment” is of value only relative to humans. We might value a forest because we can walk through it and enjoy its beauty or because we can harvest its trees to build our homes.
And what distinguishes we humans from lower animals is that we use our minds to utilize the material world for our own benefit, so we can survive in comfort and realize our own dreams. And unleashing energy is key to any worthwhile human achievement.
So don’t be suckered into turning off your lights for Earth Hour. Leave them all on as a sign of your support for a human-centered morality and as a celebration of human achievement.
Hudgins is director of advocacy and a senior scholar at The Atlas Society.
Robert James Bidinotto, “ Death by Environmentalism. ” March, 2004.
Edward Hudgins, “ Energy & Environment: The Moral Battle of Our Day .” August 8, 2008.
William R Thomas, “ Why Ecology Requires Economics. ” April, 2005.
Edward Hudgins is research director at the Heartland Institute and former director of advocacy and senior scholar at The Atlas Society.