Mr. Boisseau of Golden needs to raise his awareness of the “Lights On” all over Asia. In building after building, block after block, mile after mile, and city after city of crowded Asia, the lights are all on at night. Buildings are covered in massive colorful light displays that outline the geometries of buildings, create interesting abstract shapes, and light the night for the sake of art and visual stimulation. Every night of the year the buildings of Asia light up. Are they wasting energy on a colossal scale that dwarfs conservation efforts in the U.S.? Absolutely! Are these societies “precarious,” to use Mr. Boisseau’s adjective? Well, their economies are growing like gangbusters with currencies making mince meat out of the dollar as they produce goods for the world and accumulate wealth. Years ago, a philosophy professor of mine characterized the West’s solution to economic scarcity as a “get more” approach, as opposed to the mentality of those with a zero-sum view of the world which he characterized as a “want less” approach. His point was that the first approach led to better societies and happier people. Today Asia follows what used to be the Western approach, while back home in the West the Boisseaus want us to feel guilty, wasteful, to accept inconvenience, to see our technology as having led us to precarious times, in sum, to “want less” instead of “get more.” This neo-Luddite claptrap never solved a real problem. Moreover, guilt tripping the West into saving a few pennies of energy while the rest of the world lives on an energy bender is absurd. It’s a perpetual guilt trip that can never resolve. How convenient for the Boisseaus of the world. Without doing or creating a thing, they get perpetual moral superiority.
How about we leave the lights on, study longer and harder, and create some real solutions.