Saturday, March 26, 2011


Earth Hour is the one time a year when we're all supposed to turn off all the electricity in order to take a stand against climate change

Aside from the fact that it is an empty gesture, one solely designed to make people feel good, to expiate their environmental guilt, and does nothing to mitigate any of the so-called "greenhouse gasses" that are erroneously believed to be causing the Earth's slight warming in the late twentieth century, the whole philosophy behind this stunt is anti-human.

Ross McKitrick, Professor of Economics from the University of Guelph, says it best in his article which I reproduce here in its entirety: 

Earth Hour: A Dissent
by Ross McKitrick
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.
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 tradeoffs is something to be ashamed of.
Ross McKitrick
Professor of Economics
University of Guelph

So when Earth Hour comes, celebrate our achievement of cheap and plentiful electricity and turn on your lights and blare your music. Listen to your ipod, play a game on your ipad. Get on the internet. Watch TV. Celebrate the greatness of humanity. Don't sit in the dark like a caveman!

I've been here and there. I've drawn a lot of pictures. I've written a bit, too. I'm not good at this self-promotion thing. Look, you want to know about me? just visit these websites. Okay?


Kal said...

I so totally agree with you on this one. What a hollow gesture. No one ever takes the PRO-electricity side. Must have been started by a bunch of hippies living on a commune without electricity in the first place. I think I will add to my bright lights, big appliances celebration by burning a pile of plastic bottles and used diapers out back. Fuck I am evil.

M. D. Jackson said...

Well, now I have to backtrack a bit because I do feel that pollution is bad, m'kay? So burn the plastic bottles and baby diapers if you must, just make sure that you're not in a heavily populated area where there are a lot of children who would breathe in the bad fumes.

Although watching plastic bottles melt is a lot of fun...

Paladin said...

Conservationist - Someone who wants to use natural resources in the wisest and most efficient manner possible, while safeguarding both our standard of living and the world we live in.

Environmentalist - Someone who puts "Earth First" ahead of any other factor, and who sees mankind as a disease that plagues Mother Ghia.

I'm a Conservationist.

M. D. Jackson said...

That's a good distinction, Paladin. Conservation is a noble and necessary pursuit. Environmentalism sometimes borders on religious fanatacism.

That's probably the reason shows like LIFE AFTER HUMANS is so popular. It's like porn to them.

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