Garden Variety Earth Day

by Jonathan Reisman

I worked in my garden last week. A string of sunny sort of warm early spring days dried it out enough to get it tilled and to get peas and greens planted by Earth Day. My twenty-plus-year tiller started right up and ably prepared the soil, but loudly announced, just as I finished, that a trip to the tiller doctor would be required before further loam was lifted. 

On the first Earth Day in 1970, I was a high school freshman in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love. (Excuse the gender and systemically biased language, but back then, we thought there were only two sexes, you didn’t need to be a biologist to tell, and there was no need to parade your pronouns). I recall some warm late April rallies with hippies, long hair, and bell-bottom jeans. If I venture too near one of those Chinese triad grow houses, the scent of marijuana transports me back to those Earth Day rallies; although, maybe it was a Grateful Dead concert (or perhaps both) 

That first, and subsequent Earth Days, had a powerful effect on me. My favorite science teacher offered an elective in my senior year on environmental issues. In April of 1973, he took us on a field trip to the soon-to-be-completed Three Mile Island Nuclear plant on the Susquehanna River in south-central Pennsylvania. I started college in the fall of 1973 as an Environmental Studies major. That first January at Colby, I did a Jan plan on energy policy and surprised my Jan plan physics professor with “a balanced and workmanlike” assessment of nuclear power. I guess the closet conservative was stirring even back then. In my sophomore year, I took Principles of Macro and Micro Economics. My sophomore Jan plan was on transportation policy, and I again surprised my professor with a highly negative assessment of Amtrak, which was quite at odds with that of a certain widower freshman Senator from Delaware who was a big fan. By Earth Day 1975, I had decided to add a second major in economics.

It was a fateful decision that eventually put me into conflict with the environmental left. The Maine Attorney General’s Office tried to silence and censor me in 2001 when I challenged the salmon listing, and the Natural Resources Council of Maine asked my old boss Angus King to banish me from the environmental policy-making Public Square. We did not have the term “cancel culture” back then, but the progressive environmental left did exactly that. Cannot have apostates and traitors shining a spotlight on green lies and apocalyptic agitprop. That is not the kind of transparency the left wants.

In March of 1979, I was studying environmental economics in graduate school. Twelve days after the Hollywood/Jane Fonda thriller The China Syndrome forecast a disastrous nuclear accident, the Unit 2 reactor at Three Mile Island melted down, and frazzled former nuclear Navy engineer President Jimmy Carter failed to reassure the country.  Ten years later in 1989, I was a Board Director for Eastern Maine Electric Cooperative, which was driven into bankruptcy by the delays and cost overruns associated with the Seabrook nuclear power station. Power that was supposed to come in at $.03/kWh was eventually more than $.25/kWh due to delays, junk bond financing, and China Syndrome and nuclear waste fears orchestrated by the environmental left. As the ’90s commenced, climate change eclipsed nuclear power as the #1 apocalyptic environmental threat. Currently, greens detest both fossil fuels and nuclear power, leading to the degrowth. We do not really need the reliable/affordable energy agenda the Democratic Party is apparently pursuing.

Before anti-Semitic protests became a thing in American higher education (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion advocates have been teaching cultural Marxism oppressor narratives that define Jews as oppressor settler colonialists, so it should come as no surprise that Jews are not safe on American campuses), Earth Day was a big deal. As a pantheistic religious cult, environmentalism has a clerisy (scientists, but only the leftists amongst them), a narrative with original sin, apocalyptic disasters, confessions, Hail Mary dispensations, Maoist struggle sessions, and much more to offend the First Amendment’s prohibition of a state religion. Communist and pagan May Day rituals have seeped into late April Earth Day activities. I would be for renaming it Watermelon Day, for green on the outside and red on the inside, but alas, watermelons are now a symbol of systemic racism and white supremacy.

Related Posts
Garden Variety Earth Day
Two wild blueberry ‘greats’ inducted to Hall of Honor
Garden Variety Earth Day
Nominated for Maine youth leadership
Garden Variety Earth Day
Open for emergencies