News from Mother: The Importance of Environmental Awareness

Here is an update on how the magazine is faring after the first eight years.

| May/June 1977

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    Learn how MOTHER EARTH NEWS has been fighting problems in America and promoting environmental awareness since 1969.

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It has now been eight years since the summer of 1969 ... the summer when we began laying the groundwork for this magazine. In some respects those eight years have sped by as rapidly as eight weeks (where did the time go?). But in so many exhausting ways, those years have been more than the equivalent of eight full lifetimes.

We've all been through a great deal since 1969 that we'd rather not have gone through. The unnecessarily dragged-out conclusion and end of an insane war in southeast Asia, criminals in the White House, lies and duplicity from every level of big government, big business, and big labor, two devaluations of the dollar, starvation in the Sahel, double-digit inflation, increases in the incidence of cancer, the oil embargo, massive oil spills, Kepone in Virginia, PBB's in Michigan, and PCB's almost everywhere else, the biggest recession since the 30's, giveaway grain deals to Russia and China (supposedly the enemy) at the same time soybean shipments were arbitrarily shut off to Japan (supposedly our friend), runaway nuclear reactors, terrorists here and abroad, rumors of atomic weapons being assembled from "peaceful" plutonium in all parts of the world. India's explosion of just such a device ... proving the rumors true, confrontations in Lebanon, Palestine, and other parts of the Middle East, secret arms deals, secret spy deals, and secret economic deals ... all made by politicians sworn to "open" administrations, OPEC dollars and tired old Keynesian economic theories sloshing back and forth from one nation to another and disrupting all the currencies of the world, busing riots in Louisville and Boston and other cities. more drugs and crime and pollution and traffic snarls in our urban areas ... and an increasing amount of the same ills spreading across the countryside, the Alaskan pipeline and all the environmental and economic dislocations it has wreaked — and continues to wreak and will wreak — on our 49th state and most of this continent's west coast, earthquakes, once-fertile soil destroyed for all time at a rapidly increasing rate by strip mining ... and severely damage — year by year — by clear-cutting, pesticides, herbicides, petrochemical fertilizers, ever-larger machinery, and all the other tools of "agribiz," the rights of the middle class — the "backbone" of any stable society — trampled at an accelerating rate, bankrupt cities, bankrupt corporations, and bankrupt banks ... all bailed out with printing press money, ballooning federal deficits, Detroit's defiance of EPA standards for new car exhaust emissions, the winter of 1976-'77, drought in the West and floods in the East and dust storms once again in our Midwest.

Need I go on?

To be sure, we (the little people of the world and the planet itself) have made some gains. We did defeat the U.S. SST (although, it must be admitted, the opposition does continue its campaign to weasel the British/French SST into airfields on this continent ... and our wimpy politicians, sooner or later, will probably give in). And the tide here in the United States is now running against aerosol packaging and throwaway containers of all kinds. And even the diehards are slowly beginning to realize that the horrors of atomic energy (the health hazards it presents to every living thing for all eternity and the absolutely frightening terrorist hazards it presents to all of us now) can never be outweighed by any economic advantage (and, besides, nuclear energy has no economic advantage ... just ask Westinghouse).

In the main, however, we little folks and the planet aren't doing so well on the national and international levels. Not a single emerging or industrialized country in the world yet has a rational, workable, well-thought-out energy policy. Of the few governments now paying lip service to the sun (which, after all and for all practical purposes, does supply every bit of energy we use), most are stupidly and corruptly locked into developmental programs designed to put control of this widely decentralized source of energy into the hands of a few multi-national corporations. Or into the hands of one or two of their own government agencies.

But life doesn't have to be that way! It doesn't have to be what big government, big business, and big labor seem so determined to make it. Who needs a regimented, planet-raping existence dictated by big this, that, or the other anyway? Especially when it's still possible for small groups of people, one lone family, even a single individual ... to take life into his or her own hands, bust out of the mold that "they" want all of us to stay in, and — with a little hard work — build and enjoy an earth-oriented way of living for him or herself.

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