Tonight is ‘Earth Hour’: a celebration of ignorance, poverty, and backwardness

Sorry for not giving you more notice to prepare, but we are quickly approaching the annual one-hour event in energy self-flagellation and green nitwittery known as Earth Hour, which takes place tonight on Saturday, March 27, at 8:30 p.m (local time). Our green friends at Earth Hour are asking people around the world to celebrate its annual event that it describes as “the DNA of the Earth Hour movement.” All you have to do to participate in this annual self-imposed energy blackout is “Switch off your lights for an hour on Saturday, March 27, 2021, at 8:30 pm your local time.”

Among the “20+ things you can do from the comfort of your home!” to celebrate Earth Hour tonight include:

  • Switch off your lights. This is the DNA of the Earth Hour movement and the easiest way to participate this Earth Hour. Simply switch off all non-essential lights for an hour!
  • Dinner-in-the-dark. Get some candles ready and whip up healthy and delicious meals that will make your taste buds tingle!
  • Have a night of board games or book readings in candle-light
  • Try taking portraits of your family and friends in low-light or candle-light!
  • Challenge your artistic side with a candle-lit paint night

There’s just one problem with these candle-based activities to call attention to climate change, your carbon footprint, and fossil fuel dependency — most candles are made from paraffin wax, a byproduct of petroleum refining. So turning off your electricity that was produced primarily by fossil fuels (coal and natural gas) and burning candles just substitutes one form of fossil fuel-based lighting for another one. For Earth Hour purists, I recommend NO candle burning tonight!

In 2009, Canadian economist Ross McKitrick was asked by a journalist for his thoughts on the importance of Earth Hour in the early days of the annual event that started in 2007). Here is his excellent response on why he “abhors” Earth Hour, reprinted below in its entirety (my emphasis):

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 labor 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 refrigerator, 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.

Here in Ontario, through the use of pollution control technology and advanced engineering, our air quality has dramatically improved since the 1960s, despite the expansion of industry and the power supply.

If, after all this, we are going to take the view that the remaining air emissions outweigh all the benefits of electricity, and that we ought to be shamed into sitting in darkness for an hour, like naughty children who have been caught doing something bad, then we are setting up unspoiled nature as an absolute, transcendent ideal that obliterates all other ethical and humane obligations.

No thanks. I like visiting nature but I don’t want to live there, and I refuse to accept the idea that civilization with all its trade-offs is something to be ashamed of.

Wow, well said Ross! Amen.

MP: The winner for Earth Hour every year since it started in 2007 has been North Korea (see top photo above of the Korean peninsula at night). Odds favor them to be the winner again this year – they sit in their homes in involuntary darkness every day of the year, and not just for one hour nightly once a year from 8:30-9:30 p.m. – almost every hour is Earth Hour for the North Koreans!

A close runner-up for Earth Hour winner is Venezuela – see bottom photo above showing maps of socialist Venezuela on the night of March 7, 2019 (left) and the next night on March 8, 2019 (right) at the start of a week of electricity blackouts that caused 43 deaths as failed socialist policies returned the country to the Middle Ages according to a Yahoo news story that reported in 2019: “Walking for hours, making oil lamps, bearing water. For Venezuelans today, suffering under a new nationwide blackout that has lasted days, it’s like being thrown back to life centuries ago.” The electricity shortages and blackouts resulted from a serious lack of energy infrastructure maintenance by the state-run, monopoly power company and a lack of technical energy expertise due to the brain drain/exodus of energy-industry professionals following the government takeover and nationalization of private power companies. Last year, Venezuela experienced more than 150,000 blackouts and power outages according to data from the NGO Group for Blackouts, which predicts “many difficulties” in power supply throughout 2021.

While Americans, Europeans, Australians, and Canadians, and environmentalists in advanced economies celebrate “Earth Hour” for just an hour tonight in darkness with petroleum-based candles before turning their cheap electricity back on and drinking wine tonight, Venezuelans and North Koreans are the real “Earth Hour” celebrities and superstars. They regularly get to celebrate extended “Earth Hours” by going without electricity for days, weeks, and sometimes months. In the Perry household, we acknowledge “Earth Hour” by turning on every light in the house and garage for the entire evening to celebrate and bask in the significant benefits of cheap, affordable, and reliable electric power that comes primarily (80%) from fossil fuels (coal and natural gas) and nuclear. Time to go turn those lights on!!

Bonus Earth Hour Joke:

Q: What did socialists use before candles?

A: Electricity