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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Join me in celebration!

While many around the world will be "celebrating" Earth Hour by turning out the lights and turning against humanity, I will be using this day to celebrate Human Achievement Hour.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute plans to recognize “Human Achievement Hour” between 8:30pm and 9:30pm on March 28, 2009 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. Anyone not foregoing the use of electricity in that hour is, by default, celebrating the achievements of human beings.
We salute the people who keep the lights on and produce the energy that helps make human achievement possible. 
Green and private conservation are fine. We have no problem with an individual (or group) that wants to sit naked in the dark without heat, clothing, or light. Additionally, we would have no problem with the group holding a pro-green technology rally. That is their choice. But when this group stages a “global election” with the express purpose of influencing “government policies to take action against global warming,” we have every right as individuals to express our vote for the opposite
If Human Achievement Hour is at all a dig against Earth Hour, it is so only by the fact that we are pointing out what Earth Hour truly is about: it isn’t pro-earth, it is anti-man and anti-innovation. So, on March 28th, CEI plans to continue “voting” for humanity by enjoying the fruits of man’s mind.

This is something that actually means quite a bit to me, and I take this time to celebrate with an attitude of gratitude.  Take a moment to think of the achievements that have touched your life.  Here are a few of mine.

I am grateful for the machine that keeps my husband breathing at night, and the electricity that keeps it going.  Without it, it's unlikely he would still be alive today.  Even years after treatment, a single 4 hour power outage had his body returning to the bizarre coping mechanisms it developed to prevent him from suffocating in his sleep.

I am grateful for the pacemaker that my father has, the innovations that allowed it to be developed, and the reliable energy that allowed surgeons to implant it.  There are hospitals around the world that cannot treat their patients properly, not for lack of knowledge or skills, but for lack of facilities and the power needed to do such operations.

I am grateful for a home that's consistently warm in the winter, a stove that allows me to cook without filling my family's lungs with the smoke of green wood or dung fires, and a refrigerator that keeps our food safer, longer.

I am grateful for safe, clean water, right from the tap.  In the past, I've lived with well water that was clean, clear and wonderful.  Now I live in a city that's considered to have some of the cleanest, tastiest water in the country (though I admit, I was spoiled by our well water, as city water still tastes rather foul to me! *L*).  As a child, we had good well water, but no indoor plumbing, and I remember having to do things like share bathwater, because it took so long to heat enough water to fill the tub.  I remember hauling buckets of water to the house.  Yet this is no hardship compared to the millions around the world who do not have safe, clean drinking water.  When my in-laws were living in Africa, their taps had filters that needed to be cleaned regularly, which involved scraping off the layer of bright red scum that had built up.  For drinking water, they had to add drops of bleach to every liter of water they used, and allowed to sit to kill the pathogens.  My SIL actually drank only Coke, because it was safer than the water and, with a bottling plant right in the city, cheaper than anything else available.  The biggest killer of children in Third World Nations isn't malaria, deadly as that is, but diarrhea.  Yet it's the simplest thing to prevent: clean drinking water.

I am grateful for indoor plumbing!  For not having to run out to the little shack in the bushes in the middle of the night, or using a bucket in the basement during the winter.  For having a septic system that removed our bodily wasted far away from our well (and I'm sure my dad was grateful to not have to do the occasional emptying of the latrine pit!) or a city sewerage system that clears away the waste of hundreds of thousands of people.

I am grateful for our minivan.  Not for the payments, perhaps, but it's the best, most functional vehicle we've owned.  Just having a vehicle meant many improvements. Like no longer having to take the bus to get groceries means fewer, larger trips.  It means trips taking only minutes, instead of over an hour.  It means being able to buy in bulk the things I wouldn't have been able to carry home without borrowing a shopping cart - which I could only do because I lived close enough.  Had we lived where we do now, it would not have been an option.  Things like the big bags of flour, so I could bake my own bread more often, instead of buying it.  It means being able to buy more fruit for my family; particularly soft fruits, which I stopped buying for a while because they would be too badly damaged during the transport home.

Speaking of fruit, I am grateful for refrigerated transportation that allows us to have a wide variety of foods, any time of year.  Foods can be grown in parts of the world best suited for them, then safely shipped to markets around the world.  No longer do we have to risk malnutrition outside the growing season - a serious issue for our northern clime - nor does a bad season mean starvation the following winter.  In parts of the world, where people still don't have access to the the safe, affordable importation of food, a failed harvest means hunger or death.

These are just a few, minor things that I am grateful for.  Things that the activists promoting events like Earth Hour would deny to millions around the world, who's lives could be bettered, and their environments improved.

The achievements of humanity, big and small, are well worth celebrating.

What are you grateful for?

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