Robert Knight

Now that an unusually cold spring is giving way to warmer weather and Earth Day is behind us, it’s a good time to revisit the campaign to turn us all into progressive environmentalists.

Just as the word “liberal” has been abandoned in favor of the less-tarnished “progressive,” it’s harder than it used to be to find “global warming” in environmental groups’ materials.

The operative phrase is “climate change,” and it’s a reality if you’re in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, where the overheated Earth in mid-April deposited three feet of new snow. Talk about a sudden change in climate, when Coloradans were just getting their flippers out and putting the snowboards in storage.

Like the global warming crowd’s movement toward ever more labored explanations for why the weather isn’t behaving according to Al Gore’s scary computer-model scenarios, Earth Day itself keeps evolving. It began in 1970 as a well-meaning conservation effort, and even inspired some needed laws to clean up the air and rivers.

But like a baby T-Rex, it grew teeth, got big and powerful (see: Environmental Protection Agency) and began stalking prey, such as coal miners and the vulnerable young. Today’s schoolchildren are so hyped on “green” propaganda that it’s not hard to imagine them happily turning in their non-recycling parents to the Green Police like Cuban tots ratting on their elders for secretly reading Milton and Rose Friedman’s Free to Choose.

Driven by fanatics, environmentalism has gone beyond being a cause and has morphed into a pagan religion. This year’s Earth Day theme is “The Face of Climate Change.” We’re all supposed to upload photos of ourselves while pledging our fealty to saving the planet. It’s Facebook gone wild.

Here’s an early take on Earth Day by famed anthropologist Margaret Mead, who, some evidence suggests, was fooled by mischievous Samoans into writing a best-selling book that exaggerated “free love” among adolescents.

An International Chairman of Earth Day, Ms. Mead wrote in the EPA Journal of March 1978:

"Earth Day is the first holy day which transcends all national borders, yet preserves all geographical integrities, spans mountains and oceans and time belts, and yet brings people all over the world into one resonating accord...”

There’s yet more: “… EARTH DAY attaches no local or divisive set of symbols, no statement of the truth or superiority of one way of life over another."

Robert Knight

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