Sunday, April 22, 2018

Philly Earth Day, 1970: "A few older people, a few blacks, and some of the poor. But mainly white, middle-class young people, as much aroused by the music as by the damage done to the environment by pollution."

Not much has changed.

What we see in this fascinating 1970 CBS News segment was that the first Earth Day was a "happening" created by a group of leftist and anti-capitalist students and academics (one of whom would famously later murder his girlfriend and hide her decomposing body in his closet), but was to a large degree co-opted even then by the "establishment" - liberal politicians (note Edmund Muskie's blathery speech to the celebrants), the media, churches (note the "prayer for the earth" at one service) and, yes, even the very businesses allegedly responsible for creating all that carbon monoxide.


And the narrator nailed it when he described the scene as "as much like a rock-music festival as a teach-in on the environment."

One surprising thing, at least for the modern viewer, was the skepticism and ultimate refusal of Philadelphia's "black groups" to participate. "You're part of a Nixon trick," said one leader to the organizers.

These days, members of the black liberal establishment have learned that's in their interests to hitch their particular causes (those of the black liberal establishment) to all the others of the day, from climate change to pussy hats.  

The interview within the segment with Earth Day director, Edward Furia, ends with a sort of earnestly-expressed threat:
We're trying to get public officials and politicians to think in terms of what is the social cost to society. And if they do nothing, and if this thing becomes a lie, then I think the Earth Week committee may be replaced by a different kind of committee. Instead of a revolution of values, then the other revolutionaries will take over.
Furia would later work within the system as a lawyer, EPA administrator and entrepreneur CEO of a company that makes electric vehicles.

Since then, anti-establishment/establishment "movements," usually featuring rock-music, have become a sort of permanent feature of post-Christian Western cultural life.

On the bright side, and in fairness, some things have changed. The United States, including its cities, is much cleaner than it was almost fifty years ago (though we might debate the reasons why). Notably, it is in the countries that were earlier taken over by "the other revolutionaries" that massive environmental catastrophes are still, to use Furia's words, a thing.

But I suppose one could make the argument that, say, China's Three Gorges Dam, was as much motivated by profit (from new Chinese "state capitalists" and Western banks) as ideology.

The crisis continues.


  1. Our local school included the celebration of "Earth Day". In fact, today our children are subjected to an almost daily onslaught of "celebrations" and "days" and causes. Nothing is too small to celebrate in public schools today. What ends up happening is all celebrations are rendered meaningless. Children have so much to cope with, for many of them, even their family is a veritable hot-mess, but the public schools keep em hoppin with this and that to "celebrate", and they trotted this one out too. Our school did not get too "blamey", but I bet some did. It's all madness, but I have been in schools a long time, and there is no doubt this type of thing has magnified and increased exponentially in the last two or three years. Children in all grade levels are relentlessly politicized now. Parents either don't know or don't care.

  2. How about we have 'Heaven Day'? My guess is such a proposal would cause an uproar with the 'Earth Day' folks. On thing for sure is that Pope Francis would not support it.