“The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our time.”
– Sir Edward Grey, at the start of World War I.
In 2009 I was asked by a journalist for my thoughts on the importance of Earth Hour. Here is my response.
I abhor Earth Hour. Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferation of inexpensive and reliable electricity. Giving women the freedom to work outside the home depended on the availability of electrical appliances that free up time from domestic chores. Getting children out of menial labour and into schools depended on the same thing, as well as the ability to provide safe indoor lighting for reading.
Development and provision of modern health care without electricity is absolutely impossible. The expansion of our food supply, and the promotion of hygiene and nutrition, depended on being able to irrigate fields, cook and refrigerate foods, and have a steady indoor supply of hot water. Many of the world’s poor suffer brutal environmental conditions in their own homes because of the necessity of cooking over indoor fires that burn twigs and dung. This causes local deforestation and the proliferation of smoke- and parasite-related lung diseases. Anyone who wants to see local conditions improve in the third world should realize the importance of access to cheap electricity from fossil-fuel based power generating stations. After all, that’s how the west developed.
The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity. I cannot do that, instead I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity. Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness. By repudiating the greatest engine of liberation it becomes an hour devoted to anti-humanism. It encourages the sanctimonious gesture of turning off trivial appliances for a trivial amount of time, in deference to some ill-defined abstraction called “the Earth,” all the while hypocritically retaining the real benefits of continuous, reliable electricity. People who see virtue in doing without electricity should shut off their fridge, stove, microwave, computer, water heater, lights, TV and all other appliances for a month, not an hour. And pop down to the cardiac unit at the hospital and shut the power off there too.
Regarding that last item, don’t give them any ideas. As Mark Steyn once wrote, “The ecochondriacs mean it: This’d be a pretty nice planet if we didn’t live here,” and Lebensunwertes Leben is yet another way for the far left to go forward into the past.
Earth Hour perfectly defines the theme of my recent “Forward Into the Past” video, not to mention Fred Siegel’s “Progressives against Progress” article, which I briefly quote in the video — since the 1970s, “liberalism has seen recurring waves of such end-of-days hysteria,” indeed. Or as Doug Powers writes on Michelle Malkin’s blog:
Here’s another reason I won’t participate in Earth Hour: I refuse to acknowledge, symbolically or otherwise, that electricity is the problem and that civilization can be saved by turning itself into North Korea for any length of time.
But it’s also worth flashing back to the Silicon Graffiti I did in 2009 on this pagan Bizzaro World “holiday:”
As I noted back then, check out in the video how nicely illuminated Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore is during her Earth Hour interview. Funny, you’d think somebody who actually took her own beliefs seriously would have insisted that all lights, including those used by AP’s cameraman be shut off.
Speaking of shutting off the lights, as of the time of this post, YouTube has a silly light switch icon, which will flip your browser from white to black, plus, appropriately enough, a broken-appearing light bulb icon to commemorate Earth Hour. But shouldn’t they shut the site down completely to celebrate? Do it for Gaia, boys — no 404, no peace, maaaaan!
If you’re going to reprimitivize, reprimitivize.
Related: “Irony is dead or at least it’s lookin’ pretty Green.” Especially on Spa Night.
(Bumped to top.)