So I’m not going to turn off my lights tomorrow night for “Earth Hour”.
You may recall I blogged about this last year. Unfortunately, this year’s edition of the Spring Luau was last week but I may just take that hour to do the upcoming “Weekend of local rock volume 22” post in commemoration of that enjoyable use of thousands of watts of amplification from 17 (!) bands.
Needless to say, a number of people have poked fun at this including the fine folks at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. They put out a press release for the “Human Achievement Hour” noting in part that:
The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a leading free-market think tank, plans to recognize “Human Achievement Hour” between 8:30pm and 9:30pm on March 28, 2009. The new one-hour holiday coincides with Earth Hour, a period of time during which governments, individuals, and corporations have agreed to dim or shut off lights in an effort to draw attention to climate change.
The new one-hour holiday, unknown prior to this press release, has already received overwhelming support from many of Washington, D.C.’s leading institutions. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, for example, tells CEI that it does not plan to shut down all of the city’s bus and rail lines for the “Earth Hour.” The Kennedy Center, likewise, has scheduled a performance of the long-running play Sheer Madness, a jazz concert, and a dance performance to coincide with the Human Achievement Hour. Washington, D.C.’s Target store, furthermore, will remain open until 10:00pm on the evening of the 28th. The Smithsonian Institution also plans a film showing that will extend into Human Achievement Hour.
Other organizations around the world and the nation have planned events in support of the new holiday. For example, The United State Marine Corps will continue its combat and humanitarian operations around the world during Human Achievement Hour. The New York Times confirms that it intends to put out a paper on March 29th, 2009 (preparation and printing for that issue will take place during Human Achievement Hour). At least 30,000 movies will also be screened in celebration of Human Achievement Hour. Hospital emergency and operating rooms, likewise, will remain open in Washington and in the rest of the country. Nearly all of the nation’s Wal-Mart locations will also be open during Human Achievement Hour.
Those wishing to celebrate Earth Hour, however, do not need to take part in Human Achievement Hour. “Earth Hour is a viable alternative to human achievement hour,” says CEI Senior Fellow Eli Lehrer. “Those who wish to celebrate Earth Hour should sit in the dark, turn off the heat, and breathe as little as possible.”
It goes without saying that, except for CEI itself, the institutions listed above have not actually endorsed “Human Achievement Hour.” (All the quotes and facts, however, are real and may/should be used.)
It goes without saying that this time around I’ll likely be home for that hour so I may have to turn on a few extra lights. This will assure the power grid doesn’t have an abnormal drop in usage and malfunction.
Do you get the idea that I see this Earth Hour as patently ridiculous? This may be one of the ultimate expressions of symbolism over substance. Besides, thanks to global cooling (created by the sun) there may be a number of people who won’t have a choice about whether their house is heated and the lights are on because they’ll either be flooded out (North Dakota/Minnesota), enduring a power outage thanks to a blizzard (Oklahoma/Texas), or not have a habitable home at all (various locations in the Deep South have been hit by tornadoes in the last couple days.)
So if you want to sit in the dark feel free, but I’ll be doing something productive because I know that my contributions to society require me to use at least some energy. We have no need to retreat to a 19th century lifestyle regardless of what the doomsday prophets say.