Caracas, Venezuela: A mother with her children are walking past a man searching for food in waste in the street of Caracas. Every hour is "Earth Hour" in Caracas and other socialist "paradises."(Polaris/Newscom)


Has there ever been in the history of man an event that offered more opportunities for virtue signaling than Earth Hour?

While North Koreans and Venezuelans and Cubans are literally dying for some First World amenities, the rich and ignorant in the developed world turned their lights off for an hour Saturday night to show ... what?

Their solidarity with those living under regimes that have ground their economies into hopeless ruins?

Their concern over power bills that have become too expensive due to government-forced use of renewable energy sources?

Their disapproval of socialist systems that have wrecked the modern amenities the people once enjoyed?

No, they turned their lights off to demonstrate that they are morally superior that unlike those who didn't participate, they care about the environment.

Clear and independent thinkers had this con figured out years ago. Economist Donald Boudreaux called it, quite accurately, a mindless stunt.

"The World Wildlife Fund," which started the silliness, "should award some special prize to the North Korean government, for that government keeps North Koreans not in any meager 'Earth Hour,' or even 'Earth Day,' but in what WWFers might call 'Earth Decades,' " he wrote in 2008, one year after the first Earth Hour.

North Korea, said Boudreaux, is operating in "the Dark Ages today; a society keeping its carbon footprint tiny. Of course, in doing so it keeps itself also desperately poor, often even to the point of starvation."

Environmental economist Ross McKitrick eloquently put it this way a few years later:

"I abhor Earth Hour. Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferation of inexpensive and reliable electricity."

So let's turn off the lights.

Four years ago, Alex Epstein, president and founder of the Center for Industrial Progress, posted on his Facebook page that he thought Earth Hour was "a much more honest statement of the Blackout Movement's intentions than Earth Day."

"Earth Day pretends to want human beings to enjoy the planet. Earth Hour tells us not to enjoy the planet, but to sit in darkness."

About the same time, academic Bjorn Lomborg reminded us that there are no lights to turn off for some.

"1.3 billion people on our planet live without electricity. They can't choose to turn off the lights. They live in energy poverty," he said.

But in developed nations, electricity keeps our food fresh and healthy, vaccines and medicines safe and effective, our homes warm, and "saves millions of lives from smoke inhalation."

"So let's keep the lights on," he said.

Meanwhile, the Competitive Enterprise Institute has been encouraging the celebration of Human Achievement Hour as a counter to Earth Hour.

"Instead of looking to the 'dark ages,' like Earth Hour, Human Achievement Hour promotes the idea that we should be looking to technology and innovation to help solve environmental challenges and problems."

CEI suggests several different ways we can and should observe Human Achievement Hour:

Use a phone or computer to connect with friends and family
Go to a movie or watch a favorite television show
Have a beer or cocktail
Take the car for a drive or use a ride-sharing service
Enjoy 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."

In 2015, James H. Rust of the Heartland Institute pointed out that "Earth Hour wants you to live like the people in the 17th century dying young, starving, working yourself to death with manual labor, etc."

Yes, that is exactly what the radical environmentalists are hoping to accomplish our descent into a world that has gone backward rather than moved forward.

Of course they'll get to continue to enjoy First World benefits while the rest of us have live like we're in Venezuela, which is running out of food, medicine, gasoline and toilet paper, thanks to socialism, the environmentalists' preferred government system.