Ayn Rand Institute Press Release

"Earth Hour" Sends a Deceptive Message
March 31, 2008
Irvine, CA–Last Saturday evening, cities around the world turned off their lights for one hour to "raise awareness about global warming." In observation of "Earth Hour," iconic landmarks such as the Sears Tower and the Sydney Opera House went dark, while participating individuals turned off residential lights.

According to its organizers, the purpose of the annual event is to encourage people to think about how they can reduce their energy consumption. While they acknowledge that one hour with the lights off would have little effect on carbon emissions, the organizers say that what matters is the symbolic meaning of the event.

"In fact," says Dr. Keith Lockitch, resident fellow of the Ayn Rand Institute, "the symbolic message that Earth Hour sends is deceptive and destructive.

"Despite the constant claim that 'the debate is over' on climate change, it is nowhere near a proven fact that human carbon emissions are causing a 'planetary emergency.' But it is a fact that carbon-based energy is a life-and-death necessity in today's world.

"Earth Hour sends the false message that we must cut off our carbon emissions and that doing so would be easy and even fun! People went star-gazing and held torch-lit beach parties; restaurants offered special candle-lit dinners during the hour. This bears no relation whatsoever to the kinds of sacrifices that would be forced upon us if global warming activists succeed in imposing real carbon-reduction policies.

"We, in the West, take our abundant energy for granted. It is hard for us to imagine what life would actually be like under the sort of draconian restrictions on energy use that global warming activists are demanding. Earth Hour clouds the issue even more by making the renunciation of energy seem like a big party. People spend a fun hour in the dark, safe in the knowledge that the comforts and life-saving benefits of industrial civilization are just a light switch away.

"What we really need to raise awareness about is just how indispensable carbon-based energy is to human life. Forget one measly hour with just the lights off. How about "Earth Month," without any form of fossil fuel energy? Let those who claim that we need to stop emitting carbon dioxide try spending a month shivering in the dark without heating, electricity, refrigeration; without power plants or factories, grocery stores or hospitals; without any of the labor-saving, time-saving, and therefore life-saving products that industrial energy makes possible.

"If there is any symbolic significance to Earth Hour, it is the opposite of its intended meaning. The lights of our modern cities are a symbol of human progress, of what mankind has achieved in rising from the cave to the skyscraper. But during Earth Hour we see the disturbing spectacle of people celebrating those lights going out–of people rejoicing at the sight of skyscrapers going dark. If anything, what Earth Hour represents is the renunciation of civilization."

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Dr. Lockitch has a PhD in Physics from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and is a resident fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI). He writes and edits for ARI and is a professor in the Objectivist Academic Center, where he teaches undergraduate writing and a graduate course on the history of physics. His writings have appeared in publications such as the Orange County Register and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Dr. Keith Lockitch is available for interviews. To book him for your show, please contact Larry Benson:
800-365-6552 ext. 213 (office)
949-838-5137 (cell)
[email protected]

For more information on Objectivism's unique point of view, go to ARI's Web site. Founded in 1985, the Ayn Rand Institute promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead."

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