March 27th at 8:30pm local time folks will be sitting in the dark to cast their vote for global climate action. While most of the folks participating in the event are selfishly and rightly motivated by a desire to live in a clean and beautiful environment (nothing wrong with that) most are unwittingly lending their support to a movement which seeks to throw humanity back into the dark ages. The implicit idea behind earth hour is that humanity's existence, through our use of energy, clearing of land for buildings, and pollution-causing industry that produces the goods we use to survive and thrive on earth has a negative and unnatural impact on the world. This movement wants humanity to limit its productive ability and impede our ability to experiment and create freely. Some environmentalists see this type of celebration as communicating the "wrong message," but perhaps it makes them uncomfortable because it gets a little too close to the truth. In this article from 2009
The founder of Climate Outreach Information Network, George Marshall was quoted saying:
"Asking people to sit in the dark plays very well to a widely held prejudice that 'the greens' want us all to go back to living in caves." Darkness symbolizes fear and negativity (ever seen
a depressed teenager dress in all white?) while light symbolizes innovation, creativity, and everything else we love about civilization. There's a reason that cartoonists put a light-bulb above characters' heads when they come up with ideas. "
I couldn't agree with George more. Celebrations like this promote the idea that humanity does not have a right to advance at the sake of the environment. Each wing of the movement has its own idea about what the acceptable limit of human impact is. Of course, I think a darkened light-bulb and a darkening world is a perfectly appropriate symbol of the environmental movement.
Apart from being ineffective at reducing power usage during the hour (admittedly, not the purpose) and ideologically abhorrent, the celebration is usually mind-bogglingly stupid. In 2008 Nelly Furtado celebrated the hour with a free concert--electrical sound system, floodlights, and all. Other countries celebrated with concerts, high-powered telescopes (to view the extra dark night's sky) and televised displays, disregarding the energy usage it took to produce all the elements involved and to transmit their celebrations to the world.
Last year the Competitive Enterprise Institute cheekily declared that anyone not sitting in the dark, naked in the woods was by default celebrating Human Achievement Hour--a holiday we created to highlight the innovations and discoveries made by human beings that improve the quality of our everyday lives and highlight the necessity of free thought. These include anything from using electricity to wearing clothing. We also asked folks to conscientiously pick out and utilize some of their favorite examples of human achievement. Some watched television, others listened to the radio, read a book, or a had a glass of beer.
This year we're doing it again! For the second annual celebration of Human Achievement Hour we are highlighting some of the best innovations, discoveries, and improvements humans have made throughout the last year via our facebook group and twitter feed.
Vote for human ingenuity and freedom by celebrating Human Achievement Hour on March 27th at 8:30pm local time by turning your lights on.