“If we really want a sustainable future for all of humanity and our planet, we shouldn’t plunge ourselves back into darkness. Tackling climate change by turning off the lights and eating dinner by candlelight smacks of the “let them eat cake” approach to the world’s problems that appeals only to well-electrified, comfortable elites.”
– Bjørn Lomborg, “Earth Hour Is a Colossal Waste of Time—and Energy,” Slate, March 17, 2013.
For many years, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) has deftly combined scholarship with activism–and a dash of humor–in the pursuit of liberty. Many of their scholars, such as Marlo Lewis at this site, are leaders in their respective fields.
Several years ago, they responded to turn-out-the-lights Earth Hour with turn-on-the-lights Human Achievement Hour. And now comes 2013. “On March 23, some people will be sitting in the dark to express their ‘vote’ for action on global climate change,” CEI states.
Instead, you can join CEI and the thousands of people around the world who will be celebrating Human Achievement Hour (HAH). Leave your lights on to express your appreciation for the inventions and innovations that make today the best time to be alive and the recognition that future solutions require individual freedom not government coercion.
CEI press release, “Capitalists Do It With The Lights On: Human Achievement Hour 2013,” by Michelle Minton, succinctly makes a case for optimism, volunteerism, and reason:
It’s that time of year again when we at the Competitive Enterprise Institute celebrate the innovative power of humanity and demonstrate our commitment to protecting the rights of individuals against government action that would limit our ability to use earth’s resources and thus hinder human progress. We call this celebration Human Achievement Hour (HAH).
On Saturday, March 23 at 8:30 pm (local time), some people, businesses and governments around the world will choose to sit in the dark for one hour as a symbolic gesture to take action against climate change. The organizers of Earth Hour say that they no longer expect energy use to actually drop during the hour, but instead see it as a way for people to show their commitment to reducing energy use and taking action beyond the hour.
It’s absolutely every person’s right to decide if they want to conserve energy for whatever reason; they are free to sit in the dark as long as they want. However, it should not be their right to impose their beliefs or opinions on others.
And that is what is at the heart of the environmentalist movement. While many participants in Earth Hour sincerely want a cleaner environment — a desire most of us share — the environmentalist movement whether implicitly or explicitly seeks to clamp down on human progress by reducing energy consumption whether through regulation and taxation. They want to make fossil fuels, which they see as dirty, more expensive to encourage the use of renewable “greener” energies.
Despite any good intentions, the ultimate result of environmentalist policies is not a healthier, cleaner environment. Instead we will see a population that is sicker and poorer. The only way we achieve technology that is “greener” is by building on older “dirtier” technology. As we make it harder and more expensive for those in the business of creating new technologies, all we do is slow progress and make it that much longer to reach more environmentally friendly solutions.
Even worse, as we make energy more expensive we make everything more expensive. As a result individuals have less money and less time. And it’s hard to worry about the environment when you’re focused on putting food on the table, keeping your job, raising your kids, paying for your home, etc.
At 8:30 pm on March 23rd, we at CEI will not turn our lights out. In fact, we’ll be throwing a party to which you are all invited. Wherever you are in the world, we invite you to take part in Human Achievement Hour, a celebration of individual freedom and appreciation of the accomplishments and innovations of humans throughout history.
To celebrate participants need only spend the 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm hour on March 31 enjoying the benefits of human innovation: gather with friends under the glow of electric lights, listen to music, read a book, drink a beer, or call a loved one on the phone.
HAH celebrants can also utilize one of man’s greatest achievements, the Internet, to join CEI’s in-house party, which will be streaming live on the Web at www.cei.org/hah beginning at 8 pm, and you can use the chat function to tell us how you are celebrating human achievement in your neighborhood.
See how far we’ve come.
Human Achievement Hour 2013: Saturday, March 23, 2013: 8:30 pm – 9:30 pm EST