Last night the lights went out at the Empire State Building, the George Washington Bridge in New York, Big Ben, Niagara Falls, the Eiffel Tower, and the Las Vegas casino strip, among many other places. No, this wasn’t just one more cost-reducing measure taken due to the state of the economy, but a way to mark “Earth Hour”—a symbolic gesture meant to express concern over the environment and to promote policies that reduce our use of energy.
Keith Lockitch at the Ayn Rand Institute wrote an excellent op-ed discussing the event. In “The Real Meaning of Earth Hour”, he considers the deeper symbolic significance of celebrating the extinguishing of our cities’ and monuments’ lights, writing:
“This blindness to the vital importance of energy is precisely what Earth Hour exploits. It sends the comforting-but-false message: Cutting off fossil fuels would be easy and even fun! People spend the hour stargazing and holding torch-lit beach parties; restaurants offer special candle-lit dinners. Earth Hour makes the renunciation of energy seem like a big party.
Participants spend an enjoyable sixty minutes in the dark, safe in the knowledge that the life-saving benefits of industrial civilization are just a light switch away. This bears no relation whatsoever to what life would actually be like under the sort of draconian carbon-reduction policies that climate activists are demanding: punishing carbon taxes, severe emissions caps, outright bans on the construction of power plants.”
Read the rest of the post here, preferably with the lights on.
Photo by NASA