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.