Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Earth Day and the Red Tide


By Chriss Street

The only global climate change story at this year’s Earth Day celebration was the chilly reception by most Americans to the aging tie-dyed shirt oracles of imminent doom.  .

Gone is the bi-partisan consensus 43 years ago when 2/3 of Republican and Democrat Congressmen joined 20 million Americans to celebrate the Earth Day at one of 12,000 events.  Based on the momentum of the initial event, President Richard Nixon passed important ecological legislation and a green ring was added to the Olympic logo for the 1972 Montreal Games.  But what was originally intended by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson as a bi-partisan “teach-in” to control water pollution to improve fishing, has morphed from green to more of a red celebration of the 143rd birthday of Russia’s first communist leader, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

President Nixon sought to build a broad public environmentalist consensus when he signed an executive order establishing the Environmental Protection Agency.  His Administration’s leadership was crucial in paving the way for passage of National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Clean Air Act in 1970, Clean Water Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, and the Endangered Species Act of 1973.  At the time, few American businesses felt threatened by any of this legislation.      

Dedicated collectivist revolutionaries sensed an opportunity to coop the green movement to advance their demands that developed countries should be “returning to the poor countries enough of the wealth taken from them to give their peoples both the reason and the resources voluntarily to limit their own fertility”.  Barry Commoner, whose family was from Russia, published the 1971 bestseller: “The Closing Circle”.  The book preached that exploitive capitalist technologies were responsible for environmental degradation and American economy must be restructured to conform to nature.

East German Marxist Rudolf Bahro followed with two books addressing the supposed beneficial relationship between socialism and ecology, he later founded Europe’s Green Party.  Australian Marxist Alan Roberts posited that people’s unfulfilled needs fuelled consumerism.  In the 1980s Ted Trainer launched his journal: “Capitalism, Nature, Socialism” calling upon international socialists to develop an economic system that met human needs, versus the capitalist system of created wants.

This eco-socialism ideology merged ecology, anti-globalization and Marxism.  They believed that expansion of the capitalist system was only possible through repressive states and transnational structures that led to social exclusion, poverty, imperialism, war and environmental degradation.  They advocated dismantling capitalist states to create common ownership of the means of production by freely associated producers.

Capitalism in the 1970s had been on the ropes due to grim stagflation, but made a huge come-back with the British election of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1979 and the U.S. election of President Ronald Reagan in 1980.  By the mid-1980s, free market economies were exhibiting high rates of growth under the themes of neoliberalism and economic globalization.  Multinational corporations brought jobs and consumption to the third world.  Subsequently, the communist Soviet Union imploded, socialist South American went bankrupt and China de-communized to avoid a similar fate.

The collectivist dominated United Nations responded with the 1987 Brundtland Commission Report, Our Common Future.  The Commission’s mandate was to: examine relationship between the environment and development; 2) set international control of global environmental policy; and 3) integrate management of population, food security, species loss, genetic resources, energy, industry, and human settlements.  The goal was to replace free markets choice with collectivist sustainable control.

The report fostered the 1992 Rio de Janeiro UN Conference on Environment and Development that introduced the Agenda 21 as a counter-revolutionary manifesto to transfer economic decision making from rich hegemonic capitalist nations (code words for the U.S. and Europe), whose selfish consumption patterns supposedly caused the poverty in undeveloped nations, to non-government-organizations (NGO) who would think globally and act locally to achieve sustainable populations.  The mechanism adopted to achieve this resource wealth transfer was output restrictions on industrial greenhouse gasses in the developed world and a 100 year exemption period for industrialization of the victimized third world nations, such as China, Brazil and India.

The liberal Huffington Post hired the Opinion Research Corporation to conduct an opinion poll to demonstrate how much support for environmentalism has increased since a similar survey of public attitudes toward the environment and environmental spending conducted in July 1971 after the first Earth Day.  But to their shock, the survey shows public support has fallen from 63% to only 39%.

Agenda 21 and other environmental regulations were so successful that unemployment rates are now twice as high in the U.S. and Europe as in China, Brazil and India.  The morphing of Earth Day from clean-up to collectivism undermined the broad support Earth Day once enjoyed.  Facing protracted unemployment and staggering national debt burdens, this year’s widely advertised Earth Day festivities got the cold shoulder.

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