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The failure of 39 years of Earth Day

(above) Once upon a naive time we thought the planet could be saved by cleaning up littering 1-day a year.


Earth Day, 2009
The first year of Earth Day was April 1970. As a young filmmaking student at New York's School of Visual Arts it seemed like an exciting opportunity to shoot some film. The previous summer, 1969, I had attended the Woodstock concert and shot a lot of 8mm film. For Earth Day New York City closed 5th ave. to vehicles from Central Park to Washington Square.

That is a huge open space suddenly transformed into a car free zone. People flocked into the streets joyfully experiencing this wonderful event. I mounted my Cannon 8mm camera on my bicycle handlebars, let the film run as I sped down a car-free street.

People walked joyfully in that peaceful, carless corridor. It was exhilarating.

But like Woodstock, the Peace Movement, and all of the 1960s it faded away as America exploded with industrial growth from the post WW2 baby boom. Cocaine, speed and heroin ate away at the inner core of cities as sprawling nightmares of traffic jams backed up to the soulless suburbs.

Today the world population is double what it was on that first Earth Day. Atmospheric CO2 makes a relentless increase- carbon that will stay in the air for decades (even if we cut emissions to zero) trapping heat.

The oceans are so polluted that large species are toxic with mercury and smaller ones are being harvested to extinction. Current debate in biology is whether there is 25% of the fish left or only 10%. Left? Yes, from what the ocean's fish populations were 100 years ago. The billions of hungry humans cannot be fed from the oceans.

Every indicator of global warming points to lethal changes in climate - droughts, powerful storms, etc. Tropical insects with tropical diseases are moving into larger areas.

No politician or Pope will talk about population control. We spay & neuter pets yet allow humans to breed without any planning for the consequences. Now we have to live with those effects - human made problems that are destroying the planet in almost every aspect.

Australia has disastrous droughts that result in vast fires burning alive hundreds of people who don't know where to go to safety. My state of California is so financially broke it is near bankruptcy at the same time a drought forces cutbacks on irrigation water that reduces the economy of the states agriculture.

Adults are scared about their economic survival, their children want to play video games, politicians have no tools to create change. Healthcare is disgraceful situation where the profit motives led to greed that allowed insurance companies to profit while policy holders are denied coverage. Medicare is a huge Government rip off scheme allowing the providers to mark up supplies many times above retail - thus making medication & services unaffordable.

When I graduated from High School the world's population was 3 billion. In the 1960s there was awareness of the need for "Zero population growth."

That was so politically unpopular the concept was long ago buried. Today, as a result of ignoring this, the world is struggling under the burden of nearly 7 billion people.

 
V.R.
April, 2009
Film critics Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper gave the Al Gore's film - "two thumbs up".

Ebert wrote: "In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review, but here they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film. If you do not, and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to."
2 thumbs for this film
(below) This CO2 chart makes it clear there is no way to stop global climate change. "Sustainable anything" is futile in a runaway greenhouse. You can reduce your carbon footprint all you want, go green, etc. but such actions are futile. The tipping point, where it all runs away from human control, has already arrived. Many scientists know this but cannot communicate it to the public through the existing political system. After all, that system prevented Al Gore from becoming President with the intervention of the US Supreme Court. As a result 8 years of Bushenomics led to a global financial melt down. And so it goes.
The failure of Earth Day is the failure of population control. With an overpopulated, undereducated world there is no way to solve the problems because too few people have the skills as scientists, engineers, educators, framers, etc. Instead there are too many people profiting with financial scams, drugs, etc. who then corrupt public officials, etc.

An overpopulated, undereducated world has too many people partying and not enough competent crew members caring for the infrastructure. Lessons from the current economic crisis has shown the world that "the people in charge" were really just greedy crooks ripping off everyone who had no clue what would be the consequences of their actions.

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How would Matthew Henson survive today? He survived the Great Depression by having a Civil Service job. What would he do today to get by on Medicare?