Robert Knight

It’s no wonder that Earth Day aficionados are tight-lipped about Einhorn and instead cite the late Sen. Gaylord Nelson (D-Wis.) as founder of Earth Day. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also credits Mr. Nelson, noting that within a few months of the first Earth Day ceremonies, Congress created the EPA in December 1970.

You can hardly blame the green lobby for preferring to showcase Mr. Nelson and to ignore Mr. Einhorn. Mr. Nelson was instrumental, and, except for his chronic liberalism, was by accounts an upstanding public official. Mr. Nelson helped organize the first national “teach-in” on “the environmental crisis” on college campuses in the spring of 1970. He also helped steer through Congress several environmental laws that helped clean up America’s air and water. It was done in quick order for good reason, as the Washington Post recalled in a 2010 article:

“At the time, the Potomac River was choked with pollution-fueled algae blooms. Cleveland's Cuyahoga River had recently caught fire. Smog was so bad that, in 1966, a vast cloud of it was blamed for killing more than 150 people in New York City. And even the bald eagle's population had fallen below 1,000 nesting pairs in the continental United States, ravaged by the pesticide DDT.”

DDT was banned in the U.S. in 1972 and its use greatly reduced worldwide after the publication of Rachel Carson’s 1962 scare book Silent Spring, which warned of DDT and other chemicals in food and water. It’s nice that bald eagles are making a comeback, but on the list of things ravaged, add millions of people dead of malaria in the Third World since DDT was banned for agricultural use and disease-carrying mosquitoes multiplied. In 2010, more than 600,000 people, mostly children, died in Africa of malaria, according to the World Health Organization.

Anti-human advocate Paul Ehrlich, author of the ridiculous 1971 book The Population Bomb, actually described the DDT ban positively as a means to halt “exported death control.” This is the man who predicted worldwide famine by 1980 and still managed to snag a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” in 1990.

The horrific cost to the Third World of being forced to adopt First World environmental practices doesn’t seem to find its way into Earth Day speeches. You won’t hear the following, for instance:

“European nations and the United States used insecticides to rid themselves of diseases and then pulled up the ladder, denying Africans, Asians, and Latin Americans the benefits of those same insecticides,” write Donald R. Roberts, et al, in The Excellent Powder: DDT’s Scientific and Political History. “As a result of these and other environmentalist attacks, DDT was removed from malaria-control programs, costs of malaria control skyrocketed, and the health and welfare of poor people in poor countries plummeted.”

Well, let’s not let the deaths of all those poor people spoil our day. Back to Mr. Einhorn. surprisingly ran a piece last year that told more of his story, “Earth Day co-founder killed, composted girlfriend.” The article began:

“Ira Einhorn was on stage hosting the first Earth Day event at the Fairmount Park in Philadelphia on April 22, 1970. Seven years later, police raided his closet and found the ‘composted’ body of his ex-girlfriend inside a trunk.”

“After the verdict,” the New York Times reported, “Judge William J. Mazzola called Mr. Einhorn, 62, ‘an intellectual dilettante who preyed on the uninitiated, uninformed, unsuspecting and inexperienced.’”

Heck, you could say that about any number of other leftwing heroes. How many young liberals who lionize Che Guevara know that Mr. Guevara was Fidel Castro’s trigger man, a ruthless thug who enjoyed executing anyone who got in the way of the revolution?

He killed a lot more people than Ira Einhorn did – unless you throw in Mr. Einhorn’s indirect role in the deaths of tens of millions of malaria victims.

At least we probably won’t be seeing Mr. Einhorn’s mug on a T-shirt anytime soon.

Or will we?

Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.