Heartland Institute Experts Comment on Earth Day

Tomorrow is Earth Day, observed by ecologists and environmentalists every year since 1970.

The following statements from environmental and energy policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at[email protected] and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 312/731-9364.

“Earth Day really did make a difference back in 1968. The Cuyahoga River caught fire and sparked the nation to take better care of its environment. I was one of those who worked to establish the new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1971 and then worked on the creation of a safety net of legislation to protect our water, our air, our mines, and our agriculture and ensure that wastes were disposed of properly.

“We had really done our job by 1980, when anti-progress zealots began to realize EPA and environmental issues could be used to stop people from improving their lives by ensuring the economy could not advance and energy would never become inexpensive. Today’s Earth Day is all but a symbol of evil, managed by those who care not at all for humans and in fact do no good for nature or the animal world. Most activities are vile recriminations staged by those who wish to keep the poor just where they are: poor.”

Jay Lehr
Science Director
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“Earth Day should be a day for celebrating property rights and markets. Not only have those two institutions dramatically raised life expectancies, health, and overall standards of living, but they are the best assurance of environmental quality over the long run.

“Where property rights are secure, those rights defended citizens against pollution and other environmental harms. The countries with the worst environmental records, where people live in the most harmful, dangerous, or toxic environmental conditions, are in closed economies where the government manages, if not controls in detail, people’s day-to-day personal and commercial lives.

“America’s air and water are cleaner now than they have been in more than a century. This is largely due to the technological innovations and efficiency measures taken by companies competing in the marketplace, and the choices people, made relatively well off by economic progress, have made to invest in environmental amenities.”

H. Sterling Burnett
Research Fellow, Environment and Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News
[email protected]

“As a strong proponent of religious freedom I respect the rights of Earth Day advocates, just do not expect me to worship at that altar. Instead, today I would like to thank all of the farmers and ranchers across this country for their wonderful stewardship of the land and for producing the food that feeds the world.”

Bette Grande
Research Fellow
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“Earth Day and the environmental movement in general are being ruined by their focus on the climate scare, a scientifically dubious cause most Americans don’t really care about.

“According to a Gallup poll released last month, Americans’ concern about environmental issues now rates near its lowest levels since the late 1980s. This is largely because the movement has allowed climate campaigners to take center stage, even though, among six items of environmental concern the public were asked about, ‘global warming or climate change’ rated dead last. After last year’s environmental survey, Gallup wrote, ‘warming has generally ranked last among Americans’ environmental worries each time Gallup has measured them with this question over the years.’

“As the public comes to understand how immature the science of climate change actually is, their support for the impossible goal of ‘stopping climate change’ will diminish still further. It’s time for Earth Day Network, and indeed all sensible environmentalists, to divorce themselves from the climate scare albatross and focus instead on real environmental concerns over which we have influence.”

Tom Harris
Executive Director
International Climate Science Coalition
Ottawa, Canada
Policy Advisor, Energy and Environment
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“Senator Gaylord Nelson described the excitement of the original Earth Day, April 22, 1970, in his article, “How the First Earth Day Came About.” This was the culmination of an idea of his in 1962 to stop the environmental degradation of the Earth’s rivers, oceans, land, and air. These are noble goals that should be instilled in all the planet’s inhabitants in order to ensure a safe and healthy future.

“Unfortunately, Earth Day has been hijacked by environmental groups who want to use it to promote their agenda of forcing the abandonment of the Earth’s abundant, inexpensive, and geographically distributed fossil fuels of coal, oil, and natural gas. Their reasoning is carbon dioxide from using fossil fuels is causing catastrophic global warming (climate change). Nothing could be further from the truth.

“Abundant energy is needed to achieve Earth Day’s goal. It takes energy to produce clean water and dispose of sewage. Fossil fuel energy is preferable for transportation, better than animals used in the past that despoiled roads. Fossil fuel supported energy is far cleaner and healthier for heating and cooking than wood and dung used in the past. Electricity is preferable for lighting, rather than whale oil or candles use centuries ago. The list goes on and on.

“Environmental groups want to replace fossil fuel energy sources with solar, wind, biomass (wood), ethanol from corn, other biofuels, etc. as future energy sources. These energy sources require vast land areas in order to produce significant amounts of energy. This requires destroying millions of square miles of forest land that cleans our air and water, creates oxygen, helps cool the planet, and provides recreation.

“Thus environmentalists’ goals turn upside down the original goals of Earth Day and leave the planet poorer, less healthy, drudgery for a lifestyle, and lacking creature comforts. This hijacking of Earth Day must cease or all the good goals may be lost.”

James H. Rust
Professor of nuclear engineering (Ret.), Georgia Tech
Policy Advisor
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“As Earth Day approaches the Internet is rife with advertisements and ‘news’ stories encouraging Americans to switch to certified-organic diets. Here are three important points to keep in mind before you double or triple your family’s grocery bill.

“First, as much as three-quarters of all USDA-certified-organic food sold in America is imported from countries like China, Mexico, and Argentina, all based on the completion of paperwork with not a single field test to ensure the crop is genuine, much less safe. The American organic dairy industry – by way of example – relies almost exclusively on imported certified-organic feed for its cattle.

“Second, since there is no field testing in the organic industry, the USDA recently admitted that almost HALF of all organic food sold in America tests positive for prohibited, synthetic pesticides, the very substances the multibillion dollar organic industry purports to keep out of our diets.

“Third, since organic farmers don’t have a natural alternative to Roundup and other advanced synthetic herbicides, they’re forced to rely on tillage instead of spraying to control weeds, resulting in far more fossil-fuel used per-acre and per-bushel throughout the organic sector.”

Mischa Popoff
Policy Advisor
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“Every Earth Day, green groups will try to make you feel guilty for being a dirty-rotten polluting human fouling an otherwise pristine planet, frighten you into believing that the existence of life itself hangs in precarious balance, and convince you that only by following their sage advice can the crisis somehow be averted.

“The Sierra Club et al. never seem able to bring themselves to acknowledge all of the remarkable environmental progress that we have made over nearly half a century. They seem unwilling to share the EPA data that show how clearly we have cleaned up our air, water, and soil since the environmental movement kicked into high gear in 1970. Nor do they seem able to acknowledge those responsible for this amazing clean-up: the average American whose willingness to pay higher prices for a variety of ‘environmentally friendly’ consumer goods and whose many changes in lifestyle in the name of green living have accomplished so much on the microscopic scale, and, on the macroscopic scale, the big business the environmental groups so love to demonize, corporations have in fact spent billions over the years investing in environmentally friendly technologies and processes that go well above and beyond regulatory requirements.

“Saying ‘thank you’ to those responsible for the incredible clean up we have experienced in one lifetime would, no doubt, result in a severe blow to the fund-raising efforts of environmental groups, since those efforts are so very dependent on the specter of environmental doom supposedly lurking just over the horizon. You can keep your April 22 Fund-Raising Festival Sierra Club – I’ll celebrate our remarkable planet the rest of the year.”

Richard J. Trzupek
Policy Advisor, Environment
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“Earth Day was declared in 1970 and for the past 45 years we have all been living in the Environmental Insane Asylum, being told over and over again to believe things that are the equivalent of Green hallucinations. Now the entire month of April has been declared Earth Month, but in truth not a day goes by when we are not assailed with the bold-faced lies that comprise environmentalism.

“The Earth had passed through warming and cooling cycles for billions of years before humans even existed, yet we are told that the generation of carbon dioxide through the use of machinery in manufacturing, transportation, or any other use is causing the build-up of ‘greenhouse gases’ in the atmosphere. We are told to give up the use of coal, oil, and natural gas. That is a definition of insanity!

“Here’s the simple truth that most people are not told: The Sun warms the Earth and the Earth warms the atmosphere.

“Whether it is the president or the pope, or the countless politicians and bureaucrats, along with multitudes of ‘environmental’ organizations, as well as self-serving scientists, a virtual Green Army has been deliberately deceiving and misleading the citizens of planet Earth for four-and-a-half decades. It won’t stop any time soon, but it must before the charade of environmentalism leaves us all enslaved by the quest for the political control over our lives that hides behind it.”

Alan Caruba
Founder, The National Anxiety Center
Policy Advisor, The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a 31-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.