Remember to turn on all of your lights — all of them! — Saturday at 8:30 p.m. to celebrate Edison Hour. In fact, turn on all of your electrical appliances you can manage. Take an hour to appreciate the discovery of electricity and the invention of electrical power generation and the electric light. Say a silent “thank you” to the scientists, industrialists, businessmen, and producers who have made possible electrical power.
We no longer live in a dark and cold world. We can turn on the lights when it gets dark. We no longer have to rely on burning smelly oils or animal fats for light.
We no longer have to depend on burning wood or coal in home ovens (even in the middle of summer) to cook our food. We need merely turn the dial on the electric oven.
We no longer have to spend hours laboring to prepare food and clean up the mess. We can flip on the electric mixer or processor, then throw all the dirty dishes into the electric dishwasher. Then we can throw the leftovers into the electric freezer or refrigerator, where we keep milk, produce, and meat in an edible state for days and as long as months.
For entertainment and education, we can flip on the radio, television, or computer. For instance, we can watch an online video Thomas Edison discussing the electric light.
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.
Forget one measly hour with just the lights off. How about Earth Month, without any form of fossil fuel energy? Try spending a month shivering in the dark without heating, electricity, refrigeration; without power plants or generators; without any of the labor-saving, time-saving, and therefore life-saving products that industrial energy makes possible. …
The lights of our cities and monuments are a symbol of human achievement, of what mankind has accomplished in rising from the cave to the skyscraper. Earth Hour presents the disturbing spectacle of people celebrating those lights being extinguished. Its call for people to renounce energy and to rejoice at darkened skyscrapers makes its real meaning unmistakably clear: Earth Hour symbolizes the renunciation of industrial civilization.
In the name of industrial progress, in the name of life-serving energy production, in the name of technological advancement, in the name of a lighted path or book page or computer screen, turn on those lights, Saturday, at 8:30 p.m.