Thursday, March 26, 2009

For "Earth Hour", Celebrate Human Achievement

The environmentalists have concocted yet another tool for reminding us of the lamentable way in which we exploit the earth in order to live our lives of decadent luxury.

On March 28, 2009, at 8:30pm, we are to turn off our lights until 9:30pm to observe Earth Hour. Just as with Earth Day, we are to be reminded that the enjoyment of our industrial luxuries come at the “price” of disturbing untouched nature.

But Kieth Lockitch of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights reminds us of the true meaning behind the seemingly innocent hour of darkness. It is a conditioning mechanism and a precursor to the wholesale assault on our standard of living, which is currently in the works in Washington, DC. and elsewhere.

Politicians and environmentalists, including those behind Earth Hour, are not calling on people just to change a few light bulbs, they are calling for a truly massive reduction in carbon emissions--as much as 80 percent below 1990 levels. Because our energy is overwhelmingly carbon-based (fossil fuels provide more than 80 percent of world energy), and because the claims of abundant “green energy” from breezes and sunbeams are a myth--this necessarily means a massive reduction in our energy use.

People don’t have a clear view of what this would mean in practice. It is hard for us to project the degree of sacrifice and harm that proposed climate policies would force upon us.

This blindness to the vital importance of energy is precisely what Earth Hour exploits.

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.

Rather than Earth Hour, The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Michelle Minton has a better idea:

This week Competitive Enterprise Institute announced the creation of Human Achievement Hour (HAH) to be celebrated at 8:30 p.m. on March 28, 2009 (the same time and date of Earth Hour).

If our Human Achievement Hour is at all a dig against Earth Hour, it is so only by the fact that we are pointing out what Earth Hour truly is about: It isn’t pro-Earth, it is anti-man and anti-innovation. So, on March 28, I plan to continue “voting” for humanity by enjoying the fruits of man’s mind.

That pretty much sums it up. Man’s very means of survival depends upon converting the raw materials provided by nature into the values needed for his survival and, yes, his flourishing. Earth Hour celebrates the subhuman existence implied by untouched nature. Human Achievement Hour celebrates the exaltation of man…nature’s noblest product.

At 8:30pm on March 28th, celebrate Human Achievement Hour—enjoy your energy use.

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