Interesting article from City Journal.
NATO secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen recently announced that Russia secretly supports environmental groups that oppose fracking. Speaking at Chatham House, a London think tank, Rasmussen said that Moscow is running a “sophisticated information and disinformation” campaign that exploits the environmental movement to sway public opinion and influence government policies against fracking, thereby helping reduce global supplies of gas and oil and keeping Europe—and Moscow’s new energy client, China—dependent on Russian pipelines.
When I read Rasmussen’s comments, my first thought was: which came first, the Reds or the Greens? Was Soviet Russia already playing the environmental card at the first Earth Day, in April 1970, or did Moscow learn the usefulness of green politics from the American radicals who organized that initial celebration in Union Square?
I covered that event for the Village Voice. When I returned to Union Square for Earth Day 2014, this past April, I wondered if this year’s celebration would be anything like the original—a frantic gathering of ad hoc ecologists and political manipulators yelling about pollution and Armageddon. But the 2014 event turned out to be a serene assembly, well-attended by school kids and tourists, with vendors hawking environmentally friendly Toyotas, the New York Times, and stays in sustainable hotels. Radical green activists, it seems, no longer need to demonstrate. Today, they’re firmly in power in Union Square, Washington, D.C., and just about everywhere else.
I had accepted the Voice assignment reluctantly. In 1970, Earth Day appeared to be just another attempt by the liberal left to annoy Richard Nixon and undermine support for the war in Vietnam. The Daughters of the American Revolution had denounced the environmental movement as a subversive plot. If anything, I thought I might have the makings of a humor piece. Five minutes after arriving in Union Square, however, I realized that DAR was right. The park was filled with hip subversives handing out graphic illustrations of our dying planet. I knew some of them from the Lower East Side. Their politics ranged from macrobiotic to anarchism, and several had recently led a boycott of Con Edison, the electric utility, going without lights for 24 hours to punish the company for some offense I don’t recall. (And yet, Con Ed sponsored the Earth Day event.) The same crowd was now clamoring for clean rivers and unpolluted air. A few were on the radical varsity, among them a neighbor who later became an auxiliary in the Weather Underground, a group that would soon trade bombast for bombs. I wondered why the Left was suddenly preaching ecological salvation. A man who worked for an antiwar organization explained with a little slice of Marx lite: “Air and water are the means of production.”
Retrieved July 9, 2014 from http://www.city-journal.org/2014/eon0703cw.html