The Hour of the Planet, a deceitful campaign
By Jorge David Chapas | April 6, 2015
Days before March 28 I dare to question the Hour of the Planet campaign (the Guatemala version). I did it on its Facebook page; my opinion was the I congratulated the persons that cared about the environment but that I disagreed about the way they were doing it ( by switching off the lights). I argued, as I remember, that the premises that support that campaign are fake because the supposed man made climate change theory has been question a lot, first because it has been demonstrated that a lot of its data is manipulated and second, because of its noticeable political bias against the supposed predominant capitalism.
I expounded about the necessity of celebrating Human Ingenuity, and about how that virtue, surrounded by clear conditions of property rights , free markets and governments limited to their basic functions, would be enough to prevent and resolve the local environmental problems that undoubtedly exist. And I say, “as I remember” because my comment for some reason, was simply deleted. Not before I got a reply from the page administrator saying: “Jorge… the campaign is symbolic…we don’t demerit human ingenuity but it’s undeniable that there are problems, for example car emissions, and we have to bring awareness to that…” Well then, this reply has provided me a reason to offer new arguments against this popular campaign:
If the concern is, for example, air pollution generated by car emissions, I suggest that we teach the little ones that it is necessary to advocate for a transportation system that operates under a competency regime without privileges. A centralize and subsidized transportation system is the cause for being more than three thousand units polluting the city; and that is a marginal effect, because millions of Guatemalan citizens have to endure extortions, death and violence every day, now that is dramatic. Wouldn’t it be better to launch a public campaign proposing the elimination of public transportation subsidies that cause a lot of problems, including the environmental ones?
If that is the concern, for example, it would be beneficial that the government really takes care of the essentials: security and justice, and leave the private affairs alone, like job creation. Only in underdeveloped countries the air pollution is a serious problem. Does that occur in Sydney, or London or Seoul? The people living in those cities have an income that allows them access to better technologies, to paying for car maintenance y to commute in a safer and efficient way. A study by the Fraiser Institute in 2014 points that a 1% increase in the income of people makes a 7% decrease in the emission levels of polluting particles (smog, fumes), this validates one more time that an increase in riches allows for a better environmental performance.
This campaign, even being “symbolic”, is harmful in every way. It generates guilt, resentments and despair. It loses sight and demerits the value of human ingenuity of some of the most brilliant minds in these two last centuries that have allow us to live better and more. The great menace of our time is not the climate changes (cyclical and natural), or overpopulation, or water shortage; it’s the clear tendency toward socialism that the whole world is experimenting and that grows strong because of these initiatives and their naive participants.
I invite you to celebrate Human Ingenuity and not make echo of this deceitful campaign again. On the off chance that one day the lights do go out for good… and humanity perishes because of the horror that would mean the absence of all human activity, and the John Galt’s.
Jorge David Chapas is a Guatemalan entrepreneur, founder and CEO of Rana. Friend of CEES and PERC.