Earth Hour: A Story of Contrasts

Wow. Somebody forwarded an email about Earth Hour that was sent to the anti wind listserver. It was an opinion piece by written by Ross McKitrick, an economics professor at the University of Guelph, and a well known climate denier.

It was basically a curmudgeonly diatribe on why he doesn’t do or support Earth Hour. According to McKitrick, “Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness.” Hmmm. I guess fancy restaurants do the same thing.

“I don’t want to go back to nature. Travel to a zone hit by earthquakes, floods and hurricanes to see what it’s like to go back to nature. For humans, living in “nature” meant a short life span marked by violence, disease and ignorance.” Hmmm. Its so nice to know we are violence free now. Trayvon Martin’s family might disagree. Sickness is a thing of the past. And we are no longer ignorant.

Why was this appropriate to send to the anti wind crowd? Because for them it is OK to burn fossil fuels. Nuclear waste is not a problem. Just keep the lights on. Consume consume consume. Drill baby drill. Climate change and nuclear waste are not a problem, so why would you need to generate electricity from wind? And why would you need to conserve. After all, you don’t want to be ignorant.

Not one hour after I received that email, I received one from Friends of Wind. They were providing a link to a web cam located on the wind turbine in Toronto at the exhibition. The web cam would show city as it turned down the lights. The lights were dimming at NHL arenas across the continent, at the CN Tower, and on many of Toronto’s skyscrapers. It would be an interesting video.

This pretty much sums up the debate. On the one side, we don’t have any environmental problems. No need to do anything. Use all the electricity you want. Nothing needs to change.

On the other side, we need to make a change, and a big one. Every one knows Earth Hour is just educational, and a statement. A video cam of Toronto furthers that education. Wind energy is about the change that we need to make as a society. Including a change in how we make electricity. Because the environmental impact of how we do it today is just not acceptable.

But the anti winders don’t think any change is needed.

That is the contrast. That is the issue. It is not wind or nothing. It is wind or something else. And some of us think the something else – the status quo – is not acceptable.

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