Earth Day:
Revisionist History at Work

Adam Monroe

[Reprinted from The Georgist News, 15 April, 1999]

Georgists should know well the socially destructive effects which normally arise through historical revisionism, so I plead with you once again to rebuke the false testimony regurgitated in news periodicals and elsewhere regarding Earth Day. Look for "History of Earth Day" on any search engine and you will be thoroughly showered with a completely false, yet now popularly believed, history of Earth Day. More than 9 of 10 references to "the first Earth Day" in either print, broadcast or other media claim it was April 22, 1970. (If it was not March 21, 1970, one month previous, I will eat this laptop.)

Not all Georgists see why I and others think this is so important. Check into it, though, and ask yourself why it's so important to some folk that the public be thusly misguided. For the same reason history books omit Henry George, the Earth Day hoax is furthered by the press and other landed interests -- because public awareness thereof would change the world.


In the dark of night, Saturday, March 20, 1999, hundreds of people, including ambassadors and other international dignitaries, UN and NGO representatives and those of many environmental and social welfare groups walked across 1st Ave. and stood quietly on the grounds of the United Nations Building in a grassy area around the UN Peace Bell. At exactly 8:46 PM, the bell was rung thrice, while, at the same moment, other Peace Bells in cities around the world were so rung, to mark Earth Day (the vernal equinox and first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere). Other groups and individuals around the world also participated in various ways. All of this was overtly ignored by press organizations despite their annual notification for the past quarter century and again this year.

The significance of the mass observance of this event is understandable, perhaps, only from personal participation. This might explain why, yet, only a small percentage of Georgists have come to the aid of long-time Georgist and Earth Day father, John McConnell, in his struggle against the 4th estate's conscienceless historical revisionism regarding what is probably the greatest idea he has ever had, the idea which popularized environmentalism*, Earth Day.

* [Environmentalists are taught Rachel Carson's book, Silent Spring, started the modern environmental movement, but very few people have ever heard of it. Meanwhile, space flight and the photos produced therewith, of Earth, to which McConnell attributes the "Earth Day" idea, naturally, sparked a deep public interest in the preservation of our ecosystem. Plus, Earth Day was an overnight grassroots sensation in 1970 and remains a major cultural landmark, even vying for the subject of US postal stamp recently.]

Unlike the April 22 version of Earth Day, where corporations promote the voluntary removal, by children usually, of litter and trash from vacant urban lots, the equinox (and original) Earth Day is meant to be a solemn and sacred, yet joyous and inspiring moment of cognitive union between the life-giving force of the universe and every race, religious group, nationality and creed of humanity -- not, in essence, a day for reminders to recycle, but for a reminder that we share this planet as one. The two dates are of no comparable significance whatever.

The Spring Equinox was specifically chosen for Earth Day because it is a shared geo-astronomical event taking place all over the world at one precise moment, the idea being to publicly demonstrate the transcendental significance of our relationship with Earth over 'manufactured human divisions.' [1] This is why it has been locked in the dungeon of public awareness for the past 30 years, where Henry George keeps it company: landed interests don't want people to realize they have an equal right to Earth.

This was the 28th Earth Day observance by the UN, Secretary General U Thant having proclaimed the vernal equinox Earth Day in 1971, inspired by John McConnell's vision, first realized the previous year, of an annual worldwide celebration to recognize our mutual inheritance. Thus far, repeated attempts by April 22 organizers to persuade the UN to change the date of its observance have, happily, failed.

This year, media attendance was, as usual, slight if at all (present company excepted), but the fake "Earth Day" can expect plenty of coverage in about a week. Some say it's common knowledge that national holidays' dates are often changed to prevent international celebrations. April 22 organizers shrink from the idea that there is any connection with such manipulations though most admit their promotions may sometimes mislead. Some have been told to consider this necessary in order "to humor the old man," former US Senator Gaylord Nelson, who "likes to think of himself" as Earth Day's creator. Nelson has admitted more than once, verbally, that he did not originate it, but his many essays on the history and origins of Earth Day vigorously declare otherwise and make no reference whatever to the original or to McConnell. The third paragraph of this, one of Nelson's many lie-ographies about Earth Day, is shockingly Orwellian: http://www.earthday.org/mission.htm "For establishing the first Earth Day in 1970," Sen. Gaylord Nelson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, in 1995. [2] Yet, ... he didn't establish the first Earth Day, either in 1970 or any other year. [3] Why this huge emphasis on lying about Earth Day? Georgists should know better than to think all this has nothing to do with Earth.

Unfortunately, GlobaLink TV [4] was forced to postpone the launch of their global video channel. Their first global broadcast was scheduled for Earth Day, March 20, and was to cover music and cultural events from around the world called "Rockin' for Freedom." Earth Day activities at the United Nations and other related musical events were to be included in GLTV's broadcast. The directors of GLTV still want to help our project, though, and have offered their contacts and other assistance.

Also, your editor, I, Adam Monroe, performed my arrangement of John McConnell's song, "Earth Day"! (Did you know I'm a soon-to-be rock star?) I had hoped to do much more to raise attention for the real Earth Day, but I'll try again next year, hopefully with more help from other Georgists.

Now, for the odd, but 'possibly' good news: more than one person has recently come up with the idea that Earth Day should become "Earth Month" to include both March 20 and April 22 or "Earth Quarter" to extend the form to June 5, "World Environment Day." [5] Having read the idea at Jill Remington's web site, Worldwide Servers [6] I asked San Diego April 22 organizer, Ian Burke, about "Earth Month," and he liked the idea, but wasn't sure what other April 22 organizers might think. Burke also agreed that McConnell has been treated unfairly and, in fact, that the Vernal Equinox is a superior date for Earth Day. He even tends to agree, he says, with the reason your editor believes the landed media has participated in the hoax.