first article




Earth Day Agenda


By Carl Teichrib

Earth Day! Earth Day! Earth Day! Everybody seems to be celebrating
Earth Day. Corporate sponsorships, government backing, grassroots
activism: it seems everybody's involved in Earth Day - from Toyota to the
City of Denver, from the United Nations to the National Council of
Churches, from elementary schools to major university campuses.
Obviously, Earth Day is much more than just a single annual event, it has
become a global cultural platform.

The idea for Earth Day goes back to 1962 and Wisconsin Senator Gaylord
Nelson. Convinced that environmental issues needed greater national
exposure, Nelson suggested to President Kennedy that he embark on a
"national conservation tour." The following year, Kennedy went on a
five-day tour promoting natural conservation, but the tour never
generated the political interest that Nelson was hoping for. However,
according to the Senator, "it was the germ of the idea that ultimately
flowered into Earth Day."

Six years later, during the height of the anti-Vietnam War
demonstrations, Senator Nelson hit on the idea of creating a "national
environmental teach-in" - styled after the protest movement. "At a
conference in Seattle in September 1969," wrote Nelson in a short history
of Earth Day, "I announced that in the spring of 1970 there would be a
nationwide grassroots demonstration on behalf of the environment...the
wire services carried the story from coast to coast. The response was

Students and educators were recognized as a specific target group
ideal for maintaining long-term momentum. Enhancing this important
aspect, a book was compiled through Friends of the Earth and then
distributed nation-wide to teachers and professors.

Titled, <italic>The Environmental Handbook: Prepared for the First
National Environmental Teach-In, April 22, 1970</italic>, this volume
bared all in the quest for a new social and environmental contract. As
you read through the following excerpts taken from <italic>The
Environmental Handbook</italic>, keep in mind that what you are reading
is the foundational teaching material used in what later became known as
Earth Day. [note: incorrect spelling in the original]

<bold>- On Religion:</bold> "What we do about ecology depends on our
ideas of the man-nature relationship. More science and more technology
are not going to get us out of our present ecological crisis until we
find a new religion, or rethink our old one..." (p.24, Lynn White Jr.)
"No new set of basic values has been accepted in our society to displace
those of Christianity. Hence we shall continue to have a worsening
ecologic crisis until we reject the Christian axiom that nature has no
reason for existence save to serve man." (p.25, Lynn White Jr.)

<bold>- On Population:</bold> "No technical solution can rescue us from
the misery of overpopulation. Freedom to breed will bring ruin to all…The
only way we can preserve and nature other and more precious freedoms is
by relinquishing the freedom to breed." (p.49, Garrett Hardin)

<bold>- On Government:</bold> "Looking beyond our borders, our students
will be encouraged to ask even harder questions. Are nation-states
actually feasible, now that they have the power to destroy each other in
a single afternoon? Can we agree on something else to take their place,
before the balance of terror becomes unstable? What price would most
people be willing to pay for a more durable kind of human organization -
more taxes, giving up national flags, perhaps the sacrifice of some of
our hard-won liberties?" (p.145, John Fisher)

<bold>- On Shamanism:</bold> "What was it that enabled Eskimo shamen,
their minds a product of the taiga, tundra, and sea ice, to travel on
spirit journeys under the ocean and to talk with the fishes and the
potent beings who lived on the bottom? How did the shamen develop the
hypnotic power they employed in their séances? What can we learn from the
shamen who survive about thought transference and ESP? The answers are in
the arctic wilderness still left to us.

Wilderness is a bench mark, a touchstone...New perspectives come out
of the wilderness. Jesus Zoroaster, Moses, and Mohammed went to the
wilderness and came back with messages...This handbook, and the teach-in
it serves, have their beginnings in wilderness." (p.148, Kenneth

<bold>- More on Population: </bold>"Stabilizing the U.S. population
should be declared a national policy. Immediate steps should be taken to:
1. Legalize voluntary abortion and sterilization and provide these
services free. 2. Remove all restrictions on the provision of birth
control information and devices; provide these services free to all,
including minors. 3. Make sex education available to all appropriate
levels, stressing birth control practices and the need to stabilize the
population..." (pp.317-318, Keith Murray)

<bold>- On Family:</bold> "Explore other social structures and marriage
forms, such as group marriage and polyandrous marriage, which provide
family life but may produce less children. Share the pleasure of raising
children widely, so that all need not directly reproduce to enter into
this basic human experience. We must hope that no one woman would give
birth to more than one child." (p.324, Four Changes section)

<bold>- On Global Transformation:</bold> "Nothing short of total
transformation will do much good. What we envision is a planet on which
the human population lives harmoniously and dynamically by employing a
sophisticated and unobtrusive technology in a world environment which is
'left natural'...Cultural and individual pluralism, unified by a type of
world tribal council." (p.330, Four Changes section)

<bold>- On Social/Religious Transformation:</bold> "It seems evident that
there are throughout the world certain social and religious forces which
have worked through history toward an ecologically and culturally
enlightened state of affairs. Let these be encouraged: Gnostics, hip
Marxists, Teilhard de Chardin Catholics, Druids, Taoists, Biologists,
Witches, Yogins, Bhikkus, Quakers, Sufis, Tibetans, Zens, Shamans,
Bushmen, American Indians, Polynesians, Anarchists, Alchemists...the list
is long. All primitive cultures, all communal and ashram movements. Since
it doesn't seem practical or even desirable to think that direct bloody
force will achieve much, it would be best to consider this a continuing
'revolution of consciousness' which will be won not by guns but by
seizing the key images, myths, archetypes, eschatologies, and ectasies so
that life won't seem worth living unless one's on the transforming
energy's side." (p.331, Four Changes)

It is apparent that the history of Earth Day is rooted in very radical
political, social, and religious ideologies. Not surprisingly, our modern
Earth Day celebrations are also liberally laced with New Age beliefs,
pagan practices, and other religious concepts which run counter to the
Biblical worldview - any visit to a major metropolitan Earth Day festival
or celebration demonstrates this fact.

However, throughout Scripture we find God specifically warning His
people to stay away from pagan practices and beliefs. Deuteronomy 18 is
one example. So is Romans 1, which specifically links the worship of the
creation rather than the Creator as an act of disobedience to God.

For the Christian, consider the words of 2 Corinthians 7, "...what do
righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light
have with darkness?"


[second article]



third article