On the last Saturday of March, buildings and monuments everywhere around the world went dark. From the Eiffel Tower, to Big Ben, to the Empire State Building, the lights went out. This was not due to a freak power outage. In fact, humans in over 4,000 cities in more than 120 countries deliberately chose to switch off their lights.
They did this in the name of the environment. The World Wildlife Fund, which sponsors this global initiative known as Earth Hour, wrote on its Web site, “The movement symbolizes that by working together each of us can make a positive impact in this fight, protecting our future and that of future generations.”
But just what kind of world are they fighting for? What kind of impact do such initiatives intend to have on mankind?
Imagine if we extended this initiative and endured not merely a simple hour, but an entire year without light. Imagine further that we not only gave up light, but all applications and devices that “waste” some form of energy, in order to “make a positive impact.”
For example, consider how much carbon dioxide would be saved if you abstained from using all forms of gas and oil. If you lived far away from work, would you be willing to sacrifice the comfort and privacy of your own car for a ride on public transportation? How many miles do you think you would be able and willing to walk on foot for the sake of the environment? Could you go a year without any cooked food? Would you want to live and sleep in an unheated home? How would our economy be “impacted” if we shut down all the polluting machines and factories that produce our clothes, furniture, and all the other goods we enjoy?
And while you struggle without gas and oil in this hypothetical “Earth Year,” try adding electricity to your list. Would you be willing to give up computers and write your school papers laboring with a pen and paper? Do you think the environment would care if you stopped telecommunicating with people at long distances by giving up devices such as the telephone, the Internet, faxes, etc.? Could you imagine the electricity that would be saved if you gave up watching your favorite programs on television, or listening to music on your iPod?
In fact, such a green utopia already exists. In one country, there is no traffic, since there are no automobiles, airplanes, or any engines that can harm the environment. In such a country, hardly anything is produced since machines and factories are used on a severely limited basis. In this paradise, citizens have been celebrating Earth Hour, indefinitely, every hour of the day, 365 days a year, for the past 62 years!
Anyone who doubts North Korea’s commitment to Earth Hour can look at satellite images of the country to see how it is always pitch black, compared to its brightly lit and industrialized neighbor, South Korea. In such a country, where virtually nobody is allowed to “waste” energy on themselves, millions die.
When we take this initiative to its logical extreme, the real meaning behind Earth Hour and similar environmentalist campaigns becomes clear. The kind of future that is envisioned by environmentalists is one that does not include human beings. This is because the worldview of environmentalism holds as its fundamental premise, that nature should be protected, not for man, but from him. Those who ask man to stand by in stupid admiration of the darkness long for a world of permanent darkness. They envision a future where no sacrifice is too great for the intrinsic preservation of the environment, free from any industrial achievement or human development.
If we want to continue to survive on this Earth, we must exploit its resources for our needs. The environment and our lives in it can only be improved when we apply our minds to our surroundings and manipulate them through science and technology. We must recognize that environmentalism and its initiatives like Earth Hour are not interested in improving mankind, but in ending our impact, our “footprint,” and ultimately our existence.
— Manuel Alex Moya is pursuing a Master of Arts degree in the social sciences.