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“Earth Hour” Nothing More Than Hipster Symbolism

By Raphael Alexander

The only thing more ironic than environmentalist hipsters wanting everybody on the planet to turn off their lights for an hour on March 28, is probably the billions of people who wish they could turn them on. This kind of pop culture fad is exactly the stuff that reminds one of how very insignificant the problems of western civilization must seem to the rest of the world. Much like the 24 hour famine in which the same hipsters stop eating their tofu vegan burgers for a single day to symbolize their solidarity with people who don’t have a grain of rice, the act is nothing more than idealistic masturbation, an empty and hollow and ultimately meaningless exercise in faux-humanism.

The main objection I have to Earth Hour is that it quite literally accomplishes nothing. Whether one decides to wallow in the dark for an hour out of the calender year is about as meaningless as deciding to run a mile once a year to get in shape. If one were to buy the environmental cultist mentality that the planet is doomed from our reliance on inefficient energy sources by way of global warming, an hour is still delaying the inevitable, even by their own green religion’s notions. That isn’t the point, they will argue. It is “symbolism” in order to get us to find ways to rely less on non-renewable energy sources, and create an awareness for the importance of “fighting” against global warming. The poster pin-up model for combating global warming, then, is clearly the third world starving child. Their eco-footprint is certainly minimal, and because of their high infant mortality rate, they will spare the planet needless exhalations of deadly carbon dioxide gases. That mankind has evolved to a point in civilization where we live in such relative comfort and ease that we find ways to criticize our existence, must surely be a disturbed warning of the dangers of too much pacifism.

The fundamentalist warming religion must realize the irony of the ideals they emulate for an hour, but refuse to live by. If they really wanted to make a difference, they could go and live in the third world where they wouldn’t take up so much wasted space and electricity, thus combating global warming. But no. That wouldn’t be as exciting as twittering about Earth Hour and preparing all sorts of wonderful social media networks and meetings for people to feel extra magnanimous to mother Earth.

Our planet exists on a globalized scale of vast commercialized trade. Billions of people work in a global economy that trades resources, products and services, and as a result we are able to mass produce the daily needs of first world hipsters who can blog about Earth Hour on their Apple Quadcore Macs to their hearts content. Without this productivity by people in the third world who work at highly disproportionate wages in order to provide our products, our economy would contract, people would be out of work, homelessness would rise, and demand for electricity would ultimately fall as poverty skyrocketed. In fact this would probably be far preferable to whatever utopian “Kyoto 2″ plan is in the works in Copenhagen. Perhaps a few global conflicts and disasters, involving famine and disaster, perhaps a genocide or two, would decrease the surplus population enough to slow catastrophic global warming.

After all, at the heart of the green religion is an essentially an anti-civilization ideology. The best thing for the planet, in all seriousness, would be to get Russia and the United States to launch all ICBM warheads simultaneously at the earliest opportunity. That may sound contradictory since the greens say they want our civilization to survive despite this Armageddon hanging over our heads, but it simply doesn’t make sense. Our mass produced, mass consumed, mass expansionist species simply isn’t going to solve the mythical solution to global warming by enacting placebo carbon taxes and CO2 targets. In the end analysis, the fight against global warming, if the planet chooses to undertake the task, will be the greatest expenditure ever attempted upon a crisis that will remain infinitely unprovable.

This is little more than a modern pop culture movement that makes people feel good about themselves in spite of the glaring evidence that mankind cannot be both creatures simultaneously: a creature that is consumptive to the point of excess without any natural predators and an aggressively upward population trend with no end in sight; and also a caretaker of the Earth with designs to preserve and maintain and protect and save. It’s a fallacy. In truth we are in the golden age of a human civilization that will likely see a decline when the global population becomes strained to the point of critical mass, and resource wars begin a natural “culling effect” that takes the place of our lack of any natural predators.

I’m not being cynical, but if we’re going to engage in science fiction about “saving” the Earth against the invisible forces of global warming by turning off our lights for an hour, I should be able to write rhetorical hyperbole as well.

But for now, relax. Life is good. Keep your lights on during “Earth Hour”. Drink a beer from your fridge. Watch a show on television. Twitter to your friends. The apocalypse is not yet nigh. Not yet. If the Vancouver Canucks win the Stanley Cup, then you can begin worrying about the end.