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Lighten Up for Earth Hour

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By Doug Powers  •  March 26, 2011 10:54 AM

**Written by Doug Powers

Tonight at 8:30 p.m. local time all around the globe, private homes and major landmarks will turn off their lights for one hour. Fortunately this means there should be more than enough available electricity for me to turn on everything I own and light up my house brighter than Perth when John Glenn spotted it from orbit. And I’m talking hot, bright, old school incandescent light and not CFLs (a bulb that is sold with its own HazMat suit for clean-up purposes can’t possibly be environmentally friendly).

Why so grumpy about Earth Hour again this year? Because I don’t like being preached to about what I should be doing, especially when I already do it. For starters, in my house, we celebrate Earth Hour every day, like no doubt many of you do. How so? We don’t leave lights on in rooms that nobody is in. We keep the thermostat fairly low (mostly because I’m usually too hot). We carpool when possible. We don’t waste gas. We pick up trash when we’re out walking. We volunteer to clean up the riverwalk, and we plant trees because we like trees — not because we’ve fooled ourselves into believing that planting trees is our noble contribution towards helping make Al Gore’s mansions carbon-neutral.

As such, I tend to get a little put off when being preached to by hypocrites who swim in their own heated pools, travel in private jets, play sports under bright lights at night, heat cavernous homes they’re not even living in for months at a time, trash national monuments when celebrating politicians who are going to save the environment, and ride in limo caravans to speeches where they tell the rest of us how our pickup trucks, lawn mowers, hamburgers and 75-watt light bulbs are killing the planet.

Here’s another reason I won’t participate in Earth Hour: I refuse to acknowledge, symbolically or otherwise, that electricity is the problem and that civilization can be saved by turning itself into North Korea for any length of time.

The harnessing and generation of electricity is among the greatest discoveries ever. It’s helped make the world safer and more sanitary. Electricity runs the equipment that is used to make the medicine that saves lives. It runs the cameras, televisions and computers that allow us to see evils that are being perpetuated around the world that we might not have otherwise known about — except in North Korea, where you can’t see crimes at night because Earth Hour is mandatory 365 days a year. The list goes on. We should be celebrating electricity instead of pretending it’s some sort of cancer that needs to be cut out of our lives. That’s why my lights will be proudly shining at 8:30 tonight.

The now completely marble-less Prince Charles has referred to a Mumbai slum, which pretty much endures the sacrifices of “Earth Hour” every second of every day, as a role model for sustainable living. I refuse to affirm that kind of lunacy, even symbolically for one hour per year.

Update: Earth Hour is halfway through now and all my lights are shining so bright that I’m going to end up paying an Obamacare tanning tax, but it’s a small price to pay to honor electricity.

**Written by Doug Powers

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