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March 27th: Human Achievement Hour


The Competitive Enterprise Institute plans to recognize "Human Achievement Hour" between 8:30pm and 9:30pm on March 27, 2010 to coincide with Earth Hour, a period of time during which governments, individuals, and corporations have agreed to dim or shut off lights in an effort to draw attention to climate change.

So instead, leave your lights on between 8:30-9:30pm. I think it's a great idea. Not just as a celebration of the human achievement and technological progress that has given us lives without parallel in human history, though it is that. Those space shots of North vs. South Korea say it all.

But it's also something that every single environmentalist out there ought to celebrate, as an environmentalist.

Quick question - before the incandescent bulb, what did people use for lighting? Because it was quite widespread, even on public streets. The answer is...

Whale oil.

They used a LOT of whale oil. Illumination in lamps and candles was its #1 use. And we all know where it came from, and how.

Every environmentalist in existence should give daily thanks, on their knees, for the incandescent bulb. And instead of (or in addition to) turning lights off for Earth Day, turn them on for an hour to celebrate the achievement of their invention. They can be LED lights, or incandescent, or anything else.

Anything but whale oil, which was replaced by the very light bulbs and electricity that envirohadis so often despise.


Joe, I'll let the "envirohadis" crack pass.

. . . but what happened to (a) gas lights (b) kerosene lanterns and © candles (mostly tallow, not whale)?

. . . but what happened to (a) gas lights (b) kerosene lanterns and © candles (mostly tallow, not whale)?

Good point. The reign of gas light was short compared to whale oil, but to be fair we should also give thanks for the coal industry that provided it.

Kerosene was indeed a common substitute for whale oil, but a very hazardous one, since kerosene emits volatile fumes. Also, liberals should be advised that burning kerosene produces CARBON EMISSIONS (gasp). But deadly carbon aside, let us give thanks to the oil companies who have always produced kerosene. They're only trying to help.

Tallow comes from dead animals that are not as adorable as whales are. In spite of its obvious moral superiority, just try using it for home illumination. Your house will look and smell like the inside of a deep fat fryer.


Envirohadis exist. There's concern for the environment, which makes protecting it a true priority. And then there's the environment as an excuse for a war on modern society. Or a religion that preaches hatred of humanity. Or as a cover for particular politics. Where the environment itself comes very clearly second.

There's a difference. That difference matters.

As to A-C, nothing happened to them. But their use didn't do much to slow the #1 use of whale oil. What did, was electricity and the incandescent bulb.

For which I, personally, am very thankful. I don't believe whales should be killed. At all.


"Fanatical environmental extremists" exist, like "fanatical fundamental Christians", "fanatical white racists", etc.

"Envirohadis", though, is pure and simple invective; like "al Qaida Seven", it's ademonstration of the new millenium's version of Godwin's law.

Out of respect for A.L., I refrain from name-calling in your house, but it doesn't mean I'm not going to call you out on it when you do it.

(BTW, shouldn't that be "EnvirohadJis"?

"Fanatical environmental extremists" exist, like "fanatical fundamental Christians", "fanatical white racists", etc.

Well, yes. And like "Fundamentalist, shari'a following Muslims who believe the 10th century is a desirable model for mankind's future."

They're a non-trivial percentage of the Islamic population, and recognizing them as such is both helpful and necessary. That's partly because for many of those people, the battle is the point, in a way that Allah is not. When push comes to shove, Allah will even be made irrelevant (suicide bombers, murdering imams, etc., etc.).

Likewise, the believers in, as I put it, "the environment as an excuse for a war on modern society. Or a religion that preaches hatred of humanity. Or as a cover for particular politics..." For them, the battle is the point, in a way that the environment is not. When push comes to shove, the environment (Marsh Arabs in Iraq, light bulbs that saved the whales being despised, you want to put a windmill in MY backyard? etc.), the environment will be made irrelevant to the real priority-in-action. And 10th century dreamers are not unknown among them.

I think the parallel is especially apt, myself. Call all you want. I'll continue to use the term, and defend its use. while respecting people who really are environmentalists.

"(BTW, shouldn't that be "EnvirohadJis"?

Not until they've made the pilgrimage to Mecca. Glad I could help by clarifying that.

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