This is significant symbolically but not for the reasons intended by the environmentalists.
First, note that there is literally no energy crisis. Energy is plentiful and cheap thanks to human ingenuity and relatively free markets. In fact, to paraphrase economist George Reisman, the earth is for all intents and purposes a giant ball of practically limitless resources ready to serve the human race for eons.
Furthermore, the planet is hardly in a state of “plight.” In the sense that weather changes, species go instinct, meteors hit the earth, volcanoes erupt, land masses move, ice ages occur, etc. the planet is as it always has been and always will be until it is ultimately destroyed when the sun dies out billions of years from now. It is changing.
So what really concerns the environmentalists? They don’t seem to be upset about the tsunami that hit southeast asia or the various volcanic eruptions that have decimated cities. They don’t seem concerned about wildfires, meteors crashing into the earth or tornado’s destroying towns. They don’t seem to be concerned with the various plagues and diseases that have wiped out large populations and whole civilizations over the millenia. Yet, these are environmental disasters which are known certainly to affect the “planet” and kill people. So then what concerns them?
They are only concerned when man changes the earth. This is the dirty secret of the environmental movement.
The environmentalists are not concerned with human life. If they were they would recognize the inestimable benefit of industrial civilization. They would be eternally grateful that technology has rescued us from the daily “plight” of subsisting like animals in nature, scavenging for food and shelter at the mercy of the next disease or storm that comes along. If theories purported that human caused carbon emissions were globally raising temperatures they would insist on proof of harm TO MAN before upending the economy and then seek a technological solution.
Environmentalists oppose man’s nature. Since unlike animals, man uses his mind to survive we must transform nature to survive. Environmentalists regard nature as intrinsically valuable, i.e., valuable apart from human life. Therefore, to the extent that man must transform nature, according to this philosophy, he is destroying value. This philosophy is what leads them to chain themselves to trees and blow up science labs.
So how would the environmentalist have us live? How do we live simply in “harmony” with nature? What is the difference in principle from burning logs for fire, making rocks into tools, stones into pillars, silicon into computer chips, crude oil into gasoline, metal into engines, etc.? Where does the environmentalist want us to stop? They don’t answer.
The environmentalists are a new age religion that wishes man to sacrifice himself on nature’s altar. They combine altruistic platitudes readily accepted by the eager masses and shroud them with a pseudo-scientific veneer. The pseudo-science gives it plausibility and the altruistic component renders it unquestionably “moral.”
As noted author Michael Chrichton argued in a 2003 speech: