Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Leave Your Lights On This Saturday: Earth Hour Celebrates Ignorance, Poverty and Backwardness

"Earth Hour 2011 will take place this Saturday 26 March at 8.30PM (local time). This Earth Hour we want you to go beyond the hour, so after the lights go back on think about what else you can do to make a difference. Together our actions add up.

Earth Hour has done a lot to raise awareness of sustainability issues. But there’s more to it than switching off lights for one hour once a year. It’s all about giving people a voice and working together to create a better future for our planet."

Canadian economist Ross McKitrick responds:

"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. 

I don’t want to go back to nature. Travel to a zone hit by earthquakes, floods and hurricanes to see what it’s like to go back to nature. For humans, living in “nature” meant a short life span marked by violence, disease and ignorance. People who work for the end of poverty and relief from disease are fighting against nature. I hope they leave their lights on."

HT: Pete Friedlander


At 3/22/2011 9:58 PM, Blogger cluemeister said...


At 3/22/2011 10:27 PM, Blogger E Cogniac said...

Ew, that guy is just gross and cynical. Cheap and abundant huh? And they gave him a doctorate?
So much for Guelph's reputation.

Glad he can afford the increases of wastefulness to excess, but I guess he is rich, stupid and inside out.

At 3/23/2011 12:25 AM, Blogger Jason W. said...

Great essay! I'm sure the brain-dead trolls will not understand it.

At 3/23/2011 5:05 AM, Blogger juandos said...

What cluemeister said!!!

"I'm sure the brain-dead trolls will not understand it"...

Exactly Jason W, we've already had a prime example courtesy of E Cogniac...

Earth Hour will flush out the fools...

At 3/23/2011 9:28 AM, Blogger Michael Hoff said...

Fantastic! Bravo!

At 3/23/2011 10:52 AM, Blogger Stan said...

Earth hour is emotional masturbation for the morally retarded.

At 3/23/2011 12:45 PM, Blogger Mike said...

I don't give 'L.O.L.'s' unless I really did.
I really did, so allow me to give you a happy face as well. :)

At 3/23/2011 9:56 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Stan, you made me lol too. I think I will leave my lights on all day on March 26 while I'm out. Yes, they're incandescent too. That's my anniversary so I hope my wife understands why it is not celebrated with candle light.

At 3/25/2011 1:25 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Well Spoken!

At 3/27/2011 12:15 AM, Blogger E Cogniac said...

Well, I see you folks haven't yet lived through the eastern seaboard brown-out conditions...where you couldn't get gas, or food, or cook, or keep food fresh...or keep vital machines going.
I don't think the point is to live without electricity but to try spend a little time to think about consuming less, and finding sustainable economical sources of energy but then it seems I'm considered brain dead.

I only know that hydro rates are increasing because of demand, that the infrastructure can't currently sustain the urban sprawl that is sucking on the wires, that if we continue in the manner of wastefulness that we are, we'll just have to tell the politicians to do something and they will...with our money. They'll spend more in the wrong places on the wrong things so we can consume more.
This is the immediate gratification crowd.
Sure leave all the lights on, have the kids playing x-box, with the stereo on and all the lights in the house and the heat cranked up so you can wear shorts and a t. This is productive right?
Our world is morally safe huh?

It was one hour, where the 'morally retarded' spent a tiny bit of time masturbating on thought about a lot of things; considering familial electricity usage, maybe doing something with the kids (who apparently have an obesity problem in the US? Heck my kid just returned from Florida and asked me why everyone there is so fat?), wondering if the air-con will function this summer, or if gramps will keel over if his oxygen doesn't run for a couple days in a sweltering heat wave.

Maybe even wondering if Professor Muller's work at Berkley will have any effect on the misguided and brain dead masses that vote for foolish politicians and foolish policies because too many people are listening to bad science and sucking on the tit of consumption. (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbR0EPWgkEI)
It's funny, I walk around my extremely wealthy neighbourhood most nights and I see every light on in the entire house especially in the bigger ones...the ones that can afford it without blinking or caring and I wonder...why did they turn to me to feed their kids breakfast during those brown outs a few years ago when they were panicking that the shrimp were going bad in their freezers and their bbq's ran out of propane and couldn't be refilled because there was no gas in the car?
I tend to think we need more enmass thinking sessions.
But I guess that's what blogs are for.
Who's the greater fool in the eco school?
McKitrick's point is lost with his first word after he tells us he abhors Earth Hour; "abundant". We can't produce anything of value in abundance, or cheaply, without first taking the time to think...and perhaps even the time to debate seriously and with scientific validity on serious issues facing our society.
Our electricity may be a source of human liberation, and in most cases social advances but it isn't abundant and it certainly isn't cheap if all costs are factored in. It can be...but not the way we are headed.


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