March 29, 2018 Print

Originally established as an alternative to Earth Hour, the designated hour for people around the world to turn off their lights to raise awareness for environmentalism, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI)’s Human Achievement Hour celebrates the remarkable human progress brought on by innovation and free enterprise.

CEI, an Atlas Network partner based in Washington D.C., asked users on Twitter and Facebook to reply with their favorite example of human achievement using the hashtag #HAH2018. With such examples as the craft beer revolution, advances in science and medicine, interconnectivity of the world with the advent of the Internet, and innovations in transportation which have brought the world closer together, CEI aims to demonstrate how the innovation brought on by free markets and competition have drastically improved the human condition.

“Several years ago we launched Human Achievement Hour, an annual celebration of innovation and progress,” said Kent Lassman, president and CEO of CEI. “During this hour — this year [2018], Saturday, March 24 from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. — people around the world pay tribute to human ingenuity and advancements in every field from health and energy to communications and transportation. Originally launched as an alternative to ‘Earth Hour,’ an activist campaign that calls on people to show their concern about climate change by turning off their lights, Human Achievement Hour challenges people to celebrate human ingenuity and our ability to solve problems creatively.”

CEI Senior Editor Richard Morrison discusses CEI Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis' favorite human achievement: affordable, reliable, and abundant energy.

The Earth Hour alternative received media attention in a number of national press outlets, including Fox News, Huffington Post, Forbes Magazine, and the Las Vegas Sun. This led to a successful social media response, with thousands of tweets and Facebook posts with the hashtag #HAH2018 from around the world celebrating human progress and technological achievements.

CEI’s goal is to highlight how the solution to climate change and environmental issues will come from the technological achievements brought forth by free enterprise, rather than a state-enforced top-down policy. In response to what it sees as an overly-pessimistic vision of humanity’s future, CEI notes that even though the global population has boomed over the last half century, people around the world are healthier and wealthier than ever before.

In the lead-up to Human Achievement Hour, CEI honored Hernando de Soto with its annual Julian L. Simon Memorial Award, which is awarded to recognize an individual whose work continues to promote the vision of man as the ultimate resource. The award is named for the free-market economist and business professor known for his optimism about the future of mankind.