Annually since 2009, my colleague Michelle Minton has organized a celebration of economic liberty for one hour at the end of March, known as Human Achievement Hour. (See here, here, here, and here.) This year, the holiday falls on Saturday, March 29, from between 8:30 – 9:30 p.m. in your respective time zone. Observing Human Achievement Hour is about paying tribute to the human innovations that have allowed people around the globe to live better, fuller lives, while also defending the basic human right to use energy to improve the quality of life of all people. To be precise, Human Achievement Hour is a cheerful response to the depressing alarmism of modern environmentalism. The gloomy greens propagate a message that virtually all economic development is evil, because it necessarily despoils pristine ecology. We give ascendancy to mankind, and readily recognize that the surest path to both human and environmental well-being is wealth creation. The latter, in turn, is most efficiently engendered by markets unfettered by political meddling. Is this materialistic? Y-E-S! The editors at Ad Busters and Mother Jones may experience self-loathing whenever they buy a pair of sneakers, but not me. And I sleep well at night and have no problem looking in the mirror, because I know that material preoccupations are inherent to a vibrant market economy, which, again, is the essential mechanism of human development. Put simply, I am an unabashed materialist, insofar as schools and hospitals are filled with materials. Throughout this week, in order to celebrate the 5th anniversary of Human Achievement Hour, other CEI colleagues will post blogs on OpenMarket, paying homage to various human achievements, including 3-D printing, driverless cars, and bionic eyes. Cool, cool stuff. How can you celebrate?
- In fact, Human Achievement Hour isn’t the only holiday observed on Saturday March 29, from 8:30-9:30 p.m. Contemporaneously, the World Wide Fund for Nature sponsors “Earth Hour,” which is an event where participants symbolically renounce the environmental impacts of modern technology by turning off their lights for an hour. While Earth Hour supporters may suggest rolling brown-outs in India are desirable, we respectfully disagree, and view reliable electricity as one human achievement people can celebrate. To this end, you can take part in Human Achievement Hour by keeping your lights on for one hour.
- You can also celebrate by chatting with friends or family on your telephone or computer, watching the news on TV, listening to music, or even taking a shower thanks to indoor plumbing.
- Share how you are celebrating by tweeting about the human achievement that makes your life easier @ceidotorg and use #HAH2014.