Published March 30, 2012
As millions of people sit in the dark during Earth Hour to call for action against climate change this weekend, a libertarian think tank wants you to fight the power by keeping the lights on.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute plans to commemorate Earth Hour 2012 with its "Human Achievement Hour," 60 minutes to gather with friends in a heated home, watch television and surf the Internet instead of dimming or shutting off the lights altogether to draw attention to climate change.
"HAH is an annual event meant to recognize and celebrate the fact that this is the greatest time to be alive, and that the reason we have come is that people have been free to use their minds and the resources in their environment to experiment, create, and innovate," reads a CEI website on the event scheduled to coincide with Earth Hour 2012 from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. local time Saturday.
Participants in the event understand the "necessity to protect the individual persons from government coercion," according to the Washington-based think tank.
"Observers of Earth Hour want world leaders to 'do something' about pollution and energy use," the website continues. "What this means is that they want politicians to use legal mandates and punitive taxes to prevent individuals from freely using resources, hindering our ability to create the solutions and technologies of the future."
Myron Ebell, CEI's director of energy and global warming policy, said the event is about saluting the people who "keep the lights on and produce the energy" that makes human achievement possible.
More than 5,200 cities in 135 countries worldwide participated in Earth Hour 2011, according to the event's website. It was originally conceived in 2007 in Australia by the World Wide Fund for Nature and was expanded globally the following year.
"Earth Hour encourages individuals, businesses and governments to show leadership on environmental solutions through their actions, to use Earth Hour as a platform to showcase to the world what measures they are taking to reduce their environmental impact," EarthHour.org reads. "Taking the first step is as easy as turning off your lights."
Requests for comment from Earth Hour officials on the counter event were not immediately returned.
Those who do flip the switch, however, are encouraged only to turn off non-essential lights and not those that affect public safety. Candles to be used in lieu of lights should be 100 percent beeswax or soy varieties, according to Earth Hour officials, because they are non-toxic and non-allergenic.