Ezra’s Earth Hour (Watch this clip!)
The idea of Earth Hour is not without its problems. I have always considered it a band-aid solution to a growing environmental issue. It exists for no other reason than to placate the worst offenders, that is us North Americans, into thinking that we are “contributing” to solving the problem by not using electricity for one hour. For that reason, I have never felt very compelled to participate in Earth Hour.
That is, until I saw Ezra Levant’s completely misguided and ridiculous rant. Ezra has somehow managed to link the (misguided) idea of shutting down power for an hour as “the repudiation, the renunciation, and the devaluation [dramatic pause] of people.” It’s important to identify that the only way that Levant can link these seemingly unrelated notions is by making a massive assumption: That human achievement equals electrical consumption.
According to Levant, shutting the lights off for one hour “implies that the world is better without human ingenuity.” He goes on to state that, “human progress and prosperity and happiness are the problem and not the solution.” Note that now “happiness” is nicely linked to the idea of needlessly burning electrical energy.
What I find remarkable about all of this is that Levant has picked up on a way in which some self-identified environmentalists have missed the point and taken this fact to miss the point all over again in a completely new fashion. No identifying environmentalist would tell you they celebrate Earth Day because they hate human ingenuity, happiness, and people.
Also, Levant doesn’t hide his own sense of privilege very well. To him, what better way to flip the bird to environmentalists then by turning on every single electrical appliance in his direct vicinity? “Let’s celebrate mankind’s progress,” Levant exclaims, “March 31st, 8:30 PM, turn it all on!” Levant forgets that this isn’t a very feasible form of protest for many people like, say, people who need to budget their income and watch their electrical bills.
Essentially, it’s easy for Levant to tell us all to “turn it all on” as his salary, I’m sure, meets his energy (mis)uses. We don’t know for sure how much he makes (as he has publicly declined to share this information) but we can assume it’s enough to power “a blender in every room of [his] house.”
So, for me, Earth Day has a new meaning. While it might oversimplify a complex problem, I don’t believe that Earth Day is an attack in any way on human achievement or ingenuity. I also see no correlation between happiness and “poor life” (i.e. a life with limited use of electrical resources in this case).
On March 31, 8:30PM, I will be turning it all off and not for Earth Day either. I will be turning off my electricity because I reject Levant’s oversimplified, misguided, and classist take on our society. I will live the “poor life” because I see nothing altruistic (or complimentary to the famous inventors Levant displays for us) in burning energy pointlessly.
So thank you, Ezra Levant. You’ve given me meaning to an otherwise meaningless event.