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"Earth Hour" and the Dark Ages

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The World Wildlife Fund arranged today’s “Earth Hour” — a pledge by many people from around the world to turn off lights for an hour.  The following is from a page on the WWF website [2]:

Earth Hour is a global event created to symbolize that each one of us, working together, can make a positive impact on climate change – no matter who we are or where we live.

Created by WWF in Sydney, Australia in 2007, Earth Hour has grown from a single event into a global movement. In 2008, millions of people, businesses, governments and civic organizations in nearly 200 cities around the globe will turn out for Earth Hour. More than 35 US cities will participate, including the US flagships–Atlanta, Chicago, Phoenix and San Francisco.

Earth Hour brings together communities, local governments, corporate and nongovernmental organizations to heighten awareness about climate change and to inspire our nation to take practical actions to reduce their own carbon footprints.

Reading about the WWF’s “Earth Hour” — and hearing on the radio and t.v. too many mindless endorsements of this stunt, and seeing Google’s [3] special black “Earth Hour” design for its opening page today — I sent the following letter to Carter Roberts, President of the WWF:

Dear Mr. Roberts:

You and members of your organization worry that industrialization and economic growth are harming the earth’s environment.  I worry that the intensifying hysteria about the state of the environment – and that the resulting hostility to economic growth – might harm humankind’s prospects for comfortable, healthy, enjoyable, and long lives.

So I commend you on your “Earth Hour” effort.  Persuading people across the globe to turn off lights for one hour supplies the perfect symbol for modern environmentalism: a collective effort to return humankind to the dark ages.

Donald J. Boudreaux

By the way, of course, the WWF should award some special prize to the North Korean government, for that government keeps North Koreans not in any meager “Earth Hour,” or even “Earth Day,” but in what WWFers might call “Earth Decades” — very little light [4]ever [4]. This picture of the Korean peninsula speaks volumes [5] — the Dark Ages today; a society keeping its carbon footprint tiny.  Of course, in doing so it keeps itself also desperately poor, often even to the point of starvation.

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