But what most people don't realize is that this tree-hugging holiday was first celebrated on what was the 100th birthday of Communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin.
Brian Sussman of KSFO has more on the real origins of the annual Lenin Birthday Celebration (aka Earth Day).
The initial concept was conceived by Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WS). Nelson was Congress’ leading environmentalist activist, a sort of pre-incarnate Senator Barbara Boxer in drag. He was also the mastermind behind those ridiculous teach-ins which were vogue in the Sixties and early Seventies. During the teach-ins, mutinous school instructors would scrap the day’s assigned curriculum, pressure their students to sit cross-legged on the floor, and “rap” about how America was an imperialist nation, and converse about why communism really wasn’t such a bad form of government—it just needed to be implemented properly.
Nelson’s teach-in efforts were aided by a young man named Denis Hayes. Hayes was student body president while at Stanford, and well known for organizing anti-Vietnam war protests. Hayes heard about Senator Nelson’s teach-in concept and eventually helped Nelson institute the practice nationwide.
Rounding out the troika was Professor Paul Ehrlich of Stanford. In 1968 Ehrlich authored the Malthusian missive, The Population Bomb, in which he infamously spouted wild allegations which included equating the earth’s supposed surplus of people with a cancer that needs to be eradicated: “A cancer is an uncontrolled multiplication of cells; the population explosion is an uncontrolled multiplication of people…We must shift our efforts from treatment of the symptoms to the cutting out of the cancer. The operation will demand many apparently brutal and heartless decisions,” he wrote.
In 1969, following a much-hyped oil spill off the Santa Barbara coast, an overblown patch of fire on Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River, and the drug-induced vibes cast across the nation via the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, Senator Nelson met with Ehrlich and reportedly said, “My God—why not a national teach-in on the environment?” Hayes was brought in to play a pivotal role with organization and implementation. After careful consideration a name and date for the event were chosen: the inaugural Earth Day would be celebrated April 22, 1970—the late Russian dictator Vladimir Lenin’s Centennial birthday.
Environmentalists have always admired Lenin. He was the first disciple of Karl Marx to capture control of a country, and the opening act of his seven-year reign commenced with the abolition of all private property—a Marxist priority. Despite overseeing a bloody civil war, a devastated economy and a citizenry without hope, Lenin made it a priority to implement his signature decree, “On Land.” In it he declared that all forests, waters, and minerals to be the exclusive property of the state, and he demanded these resources be protected from use by the public and private enterprise. Selling timber or firewood, mining minerals, or diverting water for farming was strictly prohibited.
While Nelson and Ehrlich were already known as non-traditional crackpots, Hayes was that and more. In a New York Times article published the morning after the first Earth Day headlined, “Angry Coordinator of Earth Day,” young Hayes bragged that five years earlier he fled overseas because “I had to get away from America.” Hayes was so committed to his anti-capitalist cause that he made sure his organization did not even produce Earth Day bumper stickers, “You want to know why?” he explained to the Times, because “they go on automobiles.”
Earth Day has never been a celebration of the beauty and bounty of this awesome terrestrial ball. Instead it’s always been an assault on man. During the first decade of Earth Day observances people were proclaimed the polluter. By the Eighties the event’s organizers cast mankind as the tree killer, and, with the Nineties, humans evolved into the animal species annihilator. The global warming scare never really became popular until the late Nineties, and when it did, it provided compatriots at the Earth Day headquarters with the ultimate hook to hang their red berets: humans, particularly Americans, were now screwing up the entire planet’s climate.