Saturday was so-called Earth Hour, a publicity stunt created by the World Wildlife Fund where enthusiasts were supposed to stop using electricity for an hour. Only a rich, luxuriant society would fetishize poverty and want. Japan is still rebuilding; there are still parts of that country where electricity is not back on. They are in a permanent state of Earth Hour deprivation — not as some fashion statement but because of a tragedy. How is that state of despair a morally commendable situation?
It was human development, industry, capitalism, electricity — and in Japan’s case, safe nuclear power — that has made the difference between their more modest death toll and the 230,000 who died in Indonesia’s earthquake and tsunami in 2004, or the 220,000 who died last year in Haiti. Haiti’s earthquake was less than 1% as powerful; it was their lack of industrial development that made it so deadly.