Saturday, March 25, between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. people were urged to turn all of their lights out and contemplate the horrible effects human beings have on the planet, during the so-called “Earth Hour.” As a way to counter what is, in effect, self-flagellation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute urged something called the “Human Achievement Hour,” a celebration of how humans have bettered life on this planet. The CEI urged people to do the following:

  • Use your phone or computer to connect with friends and family
  • Watch a movie or your favorite television show
  • Drink a beer or cocktail
  • Drive a car or take a ride-sharing service
  • Take a hot shower
  • Or, in true CEI fashion, Celebrate reliable electricity that has saved lives, by bringing heat and air conditioning to people around the world, and keep your lights on for an hour

One suspects that most people, having never heard of “Earth Hour,” celebrated “Human Achievement Hour by default, doing things that most people do on a Saturday night.

The CEI left out a few things, like going to a club, attending a concert, going out to dinner, and so on. But it got the gist. People should not wallow in self-abuse by turning off electricity and shiver (or swelter) in the dark while worrying about rising sea levels, warming temperatures, and all the other alleged horrible effects that electricity has wrought on the planet.

People ought to remember how people lived before lights and temperature controls, the same way about a third of the human species still abides. Those lives were and in some places still are ones of misery, danger, and early death. Some people get a taste of how living without electricity is like during a blackout, an hour or so of inconvenience and discomfort.

Some have been unlucky enough to have to do without for a number of days, after a natural disaster trashing the power grid. Such unfortunates are not inclined to ever want to return to that state of affairs, once the lights go back on and the air conditioner starts humming again, bringing with it blessed cool air.

In a sense, every hour is Human Achievement Hour, in the parts of the world fortunate enough to be able to do all of the things that the CEI suggests that they do.

Thousands of years of human striving have bettered the lot of peoples’ lives, even within the lifespans of most people living. Diseases, once a scourge, are being conquered. Many people have in their pocket an instrument that can summon all the knowledge of civilization with a few swipes of a touch screen. Billions live in comfort that a century or so before was unimaginable, even for the wealthiest.

And the best, as the old saying goes, is yet to be. People who worry about technology should realize that human imagination will likely be the key to fixing any potential problems that might arise. That fact too is worth celebrating.