Earth Day, Easter and bad consequences of good intentions

Pinned to the top for Earth Day 2012. Scroll down for newer stories…

For Easter, Earth Day and Lenin’s Birthday 2011, Cliverton asks:

“What wrong ideas are we still embracing because we love unquestioned dogma and ritual?”

Has mindless environmental religion killed the value of Earth Day?

Welcome to Earth Day, also known for 2011 as Good Friday. The two religious observances fall together this year on April 22nd.

Lest the religious status of Earth Day be contested by current generations, right from the start the day had religious overtones, and it was intended that way. Author Margaret Mead declared “Earth Day is the first holy day which transcends all national borders…” Thirty years after Mead voiced her opinion, the United Nations designated April 22 International “Mother Earth” Day. Think of the Greek Goddess “Gaia” (Earth Mother), read some WWF or GreenPeace propaganda and you’ll get the point.

But like other holy days, the special soon became the norm. Commitment and action gave way to routine and Earth Day became a once a year public outing like Christmas or Easter… or Lenin’s Birthday.

I almost forgot that April 22nd is also the birthday of the celebrated mass murderer Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. What was that quote again? Oh ya: “If you want to make an omelet, you must be willing to murder five million Ukrainian eggs.” Or something like that.

Lenin’s birthday on April 22nd used to be something of a religious holiday in the USSR too until that little experiment self-destructed. I suppose a few remaining Communist adherents still have religious twangs over Lenin’s real and ideological rotting corpses but nothing like the “good old days”.

That’s another story but it illustrates the same point: the mindless acceptance of dogma that drove the communists to mass murder in the Ukraine and perverted the message of The Christ is also alive and well when it comes to the unquestioned pronouncements of the environmental high priests.

Easter, Earth Day, Lenin’s Birthday: Three religious observances aligned for 2011.

And in each one of these religious celebrations, the true believers are joined by the conforming masses. The true believers know it all: they have it all figured out. Critical thought is unnecessary and is seen as hostile to the religion.

Raise questions about the pagan origins of celebrating Easter at Equinox with eggs and you’ll probably be asked to leave one or two churches. Question whether Global Warming is man made, or whether it is cyclical and cannot be avoided, only adapted to, and the High Enviro-Priests will shout “HERESY! or even “APOSTASY!” and throw you into the recycle bin where there is much gnashing of teeth.

The conforming masses either don’t care or don’t think and they go along to church and Earth Day because grandma expects it or because the religious ceremony is also a social event.

Whether the conforming and unthinking masses sip wine “body of Christ” or distribute colouring books and chant the word “green” on Earth Day: it’s all the same thing.

Which brings us to Low Flow Toilets

Stay with me folks… I’ll make the connection, honest!

Conserving water is a good thing. In a water scarce country like Barbados, everybody knows that. We don’t always act as individuals or as a society, but we know that conserving water is good.

So when someone comes along with a technical “solution” to save water like low-flow toilets, we give it a try and maybe embrace “the solution”. But then a dangerous thing happens: the solution becomes part of environmental religious dogma.

For low-flow toilets the dogma became: “Saving water is good for the environment. Low-flow toilets save water, therefore low-flow toilets are good for the environment.”

And it becomes heresy to question the dogma.

But as the city of San Francisco discovered, low-flow toilets ended up causing environmental damage, cost the city millions and millions of dollars a year and cause the additional flow of tons of chlorine bleach into San Francisco Bay every year.

All because the use of low-flow toilets became a piece of religious dogma that couldn’t be questioned… until it became too late. In new subdivisions built with smaller diameter sewer pipes to keep the flow moving, low-flow toilets would work, but they became a disaster when retrofitted to older sewer systems because when whole communities converted, there wasn’t enough water to keep the sludge moving.

That didn’t happen overnight. The public works people and engineers saw what was happening for years but the religious dogma of “low flow toilets are good for the environment” closed the ears of the leadership. So now San Francisco in the summertime smells like a Mexican barrio open sewer and there’s no going back.

This Earth Day, think about how much of what you hear is religious dogma.

And then, like those good people who are trying their best to find Jesus, or God or whatever name by whatever path: think about why you believe what you believe always, and then act.

For without action, your good intentions mean nothing.

As for my friends and I, today and this weekend we’re picking garbage in the area around our home and the vacant rab land across the street. But as we pick up the garbage, we’re thinking about whether there are unintended bad consequences of picking up the garbage – and if anyone says there are, we’re going to listen and think about what they say.

Because we want positive results for the environment, not dogma.



Filed under Barbados, Environment, Religion

4 responses to “Earth Day, Easter and bad consequences of good intentions

  1. 33

    I thouroughly enjoyed reading this article. Good examination of the idea!

  2. WSD

    Thank you Cliverton for putting into words the thoughts I’ve had for so many years. Makes me want to puke to see the politicians out on the GREEN DAYS making announcements of things that never happen, saying all the right words like “sustainable”.

    Sustainable BULLSHIT if you ask me.

    They borrow millions “FOR THE ENVIRONMENT” but nobody looks at the groynes on the west coast and how they are destroying everything. They fu*ked the Graeme Hall swamp, they fu*ked the sewer project. They can’t even pick up the fu*king garbage on time every week.

    Sorry for the rant. Forgive me for I have sinned by not ranting sooner and louder. 🙂

  3. Graeme Hall.

    Graeme Hall Swamp remains as it pretty much always has been!

    I suspect you mean that Gov’t. has screwed-up the humanised, consciousness-raising effort part of G.Hall Swamp
    but the big pond is still there, the surrounding mangroves are still in place
    and as far as I’m concerned, they could and should tear down all the human-built infrastructure that was made,
    and seriously return the whole thing to Nature which
    if left alone
    will sort everything out very nicely!

    A trip up the ‘Stream’ “road” will reveal that things are pretty much the way the’ve always been, since we were kids up in there
    trying not to get in the watchman’s way
    (Donald? was his name?)


    If anything now seriously needs to be done
    it is to remove that 100-yr-old piece of equipment -the sluice-gate now in dismal disrepair
    and replace it with a modern equivalent,
    and then introduce a draining regime geared towards night-time drainage that is concluded by 3 a.m.
    thus giving 2-3 hrs. before light breaketh the sky,
    to clarify the inshore coastal waters for tourism “appearances”

  4. Alice in Wonderland

    “Graeme Hall Swamp remains as it pretty much always has been!”

    Are you referring to the man made lake built in the mid 1970’s, the home for
    vagrants and shootings before the improvements, the toxic chemical barrels dumped in the swamp for decades before the changes or what?

    Eco-tourism and sustainability were the buzz words of the government in the 1980’s to add to the tourist product for the island.

    One can’t ensure natural habitat, wetland or parkland without protecting it.

    This protection was removed by both governments especially the pro Clico government in power when they passed the zoning changes by amending the Physical Development Plan to the buffer lands in 2008 and allowed Clico to be exempted by the 100 year flood plain dedication when The Ramsar designation was created.

    Other than the remedying of the sluice gate issue and two way flow of fresh and salt water in and out of the wetlands, your comment is idealistic nonsense. Graeme Hall has been in constant change for many years caused by tHe intrusion of man.