New Age Movements And Undercurrents
The stars, that nature hung in heaven, and filled their lamps with everlasting oil, give due light to the misled and lonely traveller.
Current Social Trends
The Trends Research Institute of Rhineback, New York has determined that simplifying lifestyles is one of the leading movements of the 1990s. They estimate that by the end of the decade, 15% of the 77 million American will have made significant movements towards living simpler lives. A 1995 survey showed that about 30% of Americans had downshifted voluntarily, many working fewer hours for less pay so that they could spend more time with the family. Other surveys have shown that 60 to 80% of workers would be willing to accept reductions in pay if they could work fewer hours.
In 1995, the Merck Family Fund commissioned a major study into the issues of consumption in the U.S. It showed that when people were asked to describe what they were looking for in life, their aspirations rarely centred on material goods. The things they really wanted were nonmaterial. Topping the list, 66% of the people surveyed said they would be much more satisfied with their lives “if I were able to spend more time with my family and friends”. 55% said they would be more satisfied “if there was less stress in my life”, and 47% said “if I felt like I was doing more to make a difference in my community". Just 21% answered by saying “if I had a nicer car”, 19% by saying “if I had a bigger house or apartment", and only 15% by saying “if I had more nice things in my home".
Following are some of the trends that have emerged in last few decades as an answer to onslaught on ecology by the industrial civilization. All these ideas mentioned below will help relieve global oil crunch.
Ecovillage refers to a small community or habitation which is environment friendly, often consisting of 50-150 individuals. In this form of full-featured settlement, human activities are harmlessly integrated into the natural world that is supportive of healthy human development, and which can be successfully continued into the indefinite future.
The habitants of an ecovillage often share identical ecological, social or spiritual values and they have chosen an alternative to a lifstyle featuring wasteful consumerism, the destruction of natural habitat, urban sprawl, factory farming, and over-reliance on fossil fuels. Averting ecological disaster is at the forefront of this concept.
Larger ecovillages of up to 2,000 individuals may, however, exist as networks of smaller "ecomunicipalities" or subcommunities to create an ecovillage model that allows for social networks within a broader foundation of support.
Rural ecovillages are usually based on organic farming, permaculture and other approaches which promote ecosystem function and biodiversity. Some ecovillages integrate many of the design principles of cohousing, but with a greater ecological focus and a more organic process, typical of permaculture design.
A directory of ecovillages is appended at the end.
Back-to-the-land movement refers to migration from cities to rural areas. This was a social phenomenon of the 1960s and 1970s in North America. Its roots are in fact European and can be traced back to the Romantics and beyond.
There have been back-to-the-land population movements down through the centuries. These have happened in different parts of the world, largely due to the occurrence of severe urban problems and people's felt need to live a better life, often simply to survive. For example with the fall of Rome, city dwellers re-inhabited the rural areas of the region.
In recent past, economic theorist like Ralph Borsodi is said to have influenced thousands of urban-living people to try a modern homesteading life during the Great Depression.
There was again a fair degree of interest in moving to rural land after World War II. In 1947 Betty MacDonald published what became a popular book, The Egg and I, telling her story of marrying and then moving to a small farm on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state.
After World War II, many returned veterans sought a meaningful life far from the ignobility of modern warfare and industrial city life, and moved to semi-wilderness environs.
But moving back to land was a special phenomenon of the ‘60s and ‘70s. The movement was sparked off by a book named ‘Living the Good Life’ by Scott Nearing.
By the late '60s, many people were attracted to getting more in touch with the basics of life (for instance, what a potato plant looks like, or the act of milking a cow) — after they felt out of touch with nature, in general. A distinct social trend was visible which reflected people’s fatigued attitude towards rampant consumerism, the failings of government and society, urban deterioration, air and water pollution, struggle or boredom of "moving up the company ladder." Paralleling the desire for reconnection with nature was a desire to reconnect with physical work, for many were drawn by some sense of dignity in physical labor, just as they might feel depressed contemplating the prospect of a worklife at a desk in the city.
Counterculture of the 1960s fuelled back-to-land movement to some degree. Most of the back-to-the-landers wanted greater contact with nature, and sought to become self-employed workers in a cottage industry. Many wished to build their own house, and produce a good deal of their own food. ‘Knowing your neighbor’ was an important aspect of the movement in contrast with isolated city life. Another common practice to surface was the incorporation of barter, a form of trade where goods or services from one individual or household are exchanged for a certain amount of other goods or services from another individual or household, and in which no money is involved in the transaction.
Organic horticulture and organic agriculture are integral aspects of the back-to-the-land movement. All over world organics is a fad today. American consumers spent $1 billion on organically grown food in 1994, and $13 billion in 2003.
In the 1990s the term "urban refugees" became popular in relation to back-to-the-landers.
The environmental movement advocates the sustainable management of resources and stewardship of the natural environment through changes in public policy and individual behavior. This movement works from diverse platforms like scientific, social, and political. The movement is centered around ecology, health, and human rights.
The environmental movement is represented by a range of organizations, from the large to grassroots. It has a large membership of varying and strong beliefs which include private individuals, professionals, religious leaders, politicians, and extremists.
The roots of the modern environmental movement can be traced to attempts in nineteenth-century Europe and North America to expose the costs of environmental negligence, notably disease, as well as widespread air and water pollution, but only after the Second World War did a wider awareness begin to emerge.
In the United States two early conservationists stood out as leaders in the movement; Henry David Thoreau and George Perkins Marsh. Thoreau was concerned about the wildlife from Massachusetts. He wrote Walden as he studied the wildlife from a cabin. Marsh was influential with regards to the need for resource conservation.
During the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, several events illustrated the magnitude of environmental damage caused by man. In 1954, the 23 man crew of the Japanese fishing vessel Lucky Dragon was exposed to radioactive fallout from a hydrogen bomb test at Bikini Atoll. In 1962 the publication of the book Silent Spring by Rachel Carson drew attention to the impact of chemicals on the natural environment. In 1967 the Torrey Canyon oil tanker went aground off the southwest coast of England, and in 1969 oil spilled from an offshore well in California's Santa Barbara Channel. In 1971 the conclusion of a law suit in Japan drew international attention to the effects of decades of mercury poisoning on the people of Minamata.
In 1972, the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment was held in Stockholm, and for the first time united the representatives of multiple governments in discussion relating to the state of the global environment. This conference led directly the creation of government environment agencies and the UN Environment Program. The United States also passed new legislation such as the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act- the foundations for current environmental standards.
Since the 1970s, public awareness, environmental sciences, ecology, and technology have advanced to include modern focus points like ozone depletion, global climate change, acid rain, and the harmful potential of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
The conservation movement as a concept aims to preserve natural resources expressly for their continued sustainable use by humans. Its a political, social and, to some extent, scientific movement that seeks to protect natural resources including plant and animal species as well as their habitat for the future.
The early conservation movement included fisheries and wildlife management, water, soil conservation and sustainable forestry. The contemporary conservation movement has broadened from the early movement's emphasis on use of sustainable yield of natural resources and preservation of wilderness areas to include preservation of biodiversity. In other parts of the world conservation is used more broadly to include the setting aside of natural areas and the active protection of wildlife for their inherent value, as much as for any value they may have for humans.
Permaculture refers to sustainable and earth friendly agricultural systems, which are distinct from destructive industrial-agricultural methods that poison the land and water, reduce biodiversity and remove billions of tons of soil from previously fertile landscapes. The term permaculture basically means "permanent agriculture" but this can also be taken to mean "permanent culture".
This concept was presented during the 1970s by two Australians, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. Through a series of publications, Mollison, Holmgren and their associates documented an approach to designing human settlements, in particular the development of perennial agricultural systems that mimic the structure and interrelationship found in natural ecologies.
Permaculture aims to promote self-sufficient human settlements — ones that reduce society's reliance on industrial systems of production and distribution that fundamentally and systematically are destroying the earth's ecosystems.
By the early 1980s, the concept had moved on from being predominantly about the design of agricultural systems towards being a more fully holistic design process for creating sustainable human habitats.
By the mid 1980s, many of the students had become successful practitioners and had themselves begun teaching the techniques they had learned. In a short period of time permaculture groups, projects, associations, and institutes were established in over one hundred countries.
There are now two strands of permaculture: a) Original and b) Design permaculture. Original permaculture attempts to closely replicate nature by developing edible ecosystems which closely resemble their wild counterparts. Design permaculture takes the working connections at use in an ecosystem and uses them as its basis. The end result may not look as "natural" as a forest garden, but still has an underlying design based on ecological principles.
The Green movement refers to political forums in various countries which aim at protecting environment and promoting sustainability, social justice, ecology, conservation, peace and nonviolence. These groups are called greens.
This movement started in March of 1972, with the world's first green party, the United Tasmania Group in Australia. First Greens to contest and win elections were the German Greens, in 1980. The German Greens drew support for their opposition to nuclear power, pollution, and the actions of NATO.
In Finland, in 1995, the Green League became the first European Green party to form part of a state-level Cabinet. The German Greens followed, forming a government with the Social Democratic Party of Germany (the "Red-Green Alliance") from 1998 to 2005. In 2001, they reached an agreement to end reliance on nuclear power in Germany.
There is a growing level of global cooperation between Green parties. Global gatherings of Green Parties now happen. The first Planetary Meeting of Greens was held in Rio de Janeiro, immediately preceding the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held there. More than 200 Greens from 28 nations attended. The next Global Green Gathering was held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2008
In 1996, 69 Green Parties from around the world signed a common declaration opposing French nuclear testing in the South Pacific, the first statement of global greens on a current issue. A second statement was issued in December 1997, concerning the Kyoto climate change treaty.
Separately from the Global Green Gatherings, Global Green Meetings take place. For instance, one took place on the fringe of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesberg. Green Parties attended from Australia, Taiwan, Korea, South Africa, Mauritius, Uganda, Cameroon, Republic of Cyprus, Italy, France, Belgium, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Norway, the USA, Mexico and Chile.
The member parties of the Global Greens are organised into four continental federations:
Federation of Green Parties of Africa
Federation of the Green Parties of the Americas / Federación de los Partidos Verdes de las Américas
Asia-Pacific Green Network
European Federation of Green Parties
Neo-Tribalism philosophy propounds that tribal community setup in close proximity with nature is a natural and more conducing way of life for human beings. It also asserts that all problems faced by human society are byproducts of modern living and it cannot achieve genuine happiness until some semblance of tribal lifestyles has been re-created or re-embraced.
Neo-tribalist ideology is rooted in the social philosophies of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and William Kingdon Clifford, who spoke of a "tribal self" thwarted by modern society. A species removed from the environment in which it evolved, in which it is meant to live, will become pathological, has been cited by Neo-tribalists as providing a scientific basis for their beliefs.
Certain aspects of industrial and post-industrial life, including the necessity of living in a society of strangers and interacting with organizations that have very large memberships, are cited as inherently detrimental to the human mind. In a 1985 paper, "Psychology, Ideology, Utopia, & the Commons," psychologist Dennis Fox proposed a number around 150 people for an ideal settlement.
Advocates attribute a general breakdown in the social structure of modern civilization to more frequent moves for economic reasons, longer commutes and a lack of strong friendships and community bonds.
The French Sociologist Michel Maffesoli was perhaps the first to use the term neo-Tribalism in a scholarly context. Maffesoli predicted that as the culture and institutions of modernism declined, societies would look to the organizational principles of the distant past for guidance, and that therefore the post-modern era would be the era of Neo-Tribalism.
Radical neo-Tribalists such as John Zerzan believe that healthy tribal life can only thrive after technological civilization has either been destroyed or severely reduced in scope. Daniel Quinn, associated with the New tribalists, formulated the concept of "walking away": abandoning the owner/conqueror worldview of civilization - though not necessarily its geographical space - and making a living with others in tribal businesses. Others, such as Derrick Jensen, tend to call for more violent action, as they believe that it is appropriate and necessary to actively accelerate or cause a collapse of civilization. Still others, such as The Tribe of Anthropik take a survivalist bent and believe that a collapse is inevitable no matter what is done or said and concentrate their efforts on surviving and forming tribal cultures in the aftermath.
This is a moderate form of neo-Tribalism. Its followers believe that a tribal social structure can coexist with a modern technological infrastructure. For example, under this scenario, people might reside in a large house or other building with a communal group of 12-20 individuals all abiding by a defined set of rules, cultural rituals and intimate relationships, but otherwise leading modern lives, going to a job, driving a car, etc. In that it attempts to harmonize two seemingly contradictory cultures, namely modern existence and tribalism.
This was a short-lived movement in 60s but before fading away it inspired several moves in the field of alternative living. Its residents were called ‘droppers’.
Drop City was an artists' community that formed in southern Colorado in 1965.
It attracted people from around the world who came to stay and work on the construction projects. Inspired by the architectural ideas of Buckminster Fuller, residents constructed dome like structure to house themselves, using geometric panels made from the metal of automobile roofs and other inexpensive materials. Soon the community grew in reputation and size, accelerated by media attention, including news reports on national television networks.
An intentional community is a planned residential community designed to promote voluntary simplicity, interpersonal growth, self-reliance, sharing of resources, creating family-oriented neighborhoods and living ecologically sustainable lifestyles. Its distinctive feature is a much higher degree of social interaction than other communities. The members of an intentional community typically hold a common social, political or spiritual vision. They also share responsibilities and resources. Intentional communities include cohousing, residential land trusts, ecovillages, communes, kibbutzim, ashrams, and housing cooperatives. Some communities are secular; others have a spiritual basis.
A survey in the 1995 edition of the Communities Directory, published by Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC), reported that 54% of the communities choosing to list themselves were rural where as 28% were urban.
Buy Nothing Day : Shop Less - Live More
Buy Nothing Day (BND) is an international day of protest against consumerism observed by social activists. Typically celebrated the Friday after American Thanksgiving in North America and the following day internationally. It was founded in Vancouver by artist Ted Dave and subsequently promoted by Adbusters magazine, based in Canada.
The first Buy Nothing Day was organized in Mexico in September 1992 "as a day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption." In 1997, it was moved to the Friday after American Thanksgiving, also called "Black Friday", which is one of the ten busiest shopping days in the United States. Outside North America and Israel, Buy Nothing Day is the following Saturday. Adbusters was denied advertising time by almost all major television networks except for CNN, which was the only one to air their ads. Soon, campaigns started appearing in the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Austria, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, France, and Norway. Participation now includes more than 65 nations.
It’s a day where you challenge yourself, your family and friends to switch off from shopping and tune into life. The rules are simple, for 24 hours you will detox from consumerism and live without shopping. Anyone can take part provided they spend a day without spending!
Various gatherings and forms of protest have been used on Buy Nothing Day to draw attention to the problem of over-consumption:
-Credit card cut up: Participants stand in a shopping mall, shopping center, or store with a pair of scissors and a poster that advertises help for people who want to put an end to mounting debt and extortionate interest rates with one simple cut.
-Zombie Walk: Participant "zombies" wander around shopping malls or other consumer havens with a blank stare. When asked what they are doing participants describe Buy Nothing Day.
-Whirl-mart: Participants silently steer their shopping carts around a shopping mall or store in a long, baffling conga line without putting anything in the carts or actually making any purchases.
-Wildcat General Strike: A strategy used for the 2009 Buy Nothing Day where participants not only do not buy anything for twenty-four hours but also keep their lights, televisions, computers and other non-essential appliances turned off, their cars parked, and their phones turned off or unplugged from sunrise to sunset.
-Buy Nothing Day hike: Rather than celebrating consumerism by shopping, participants celebrate The Earth and nature.
National Downshifting Week
The 'grassroots' awareness campaign, National Downshifting Week (UK) (founded 1995) encourages participants to positively embrace living with less. Campaign creator, British writer and broadcaster on downshifting and sustainable living, Tracey Smith says, "The more money you spend, the more time you have to be out there earning it and the less time you have to spend with the ones you love". National Downshifting Week encourages participants to 'Slow Down and Green Up' and contains a list of suggestions for Individuals, Companies and Children and Schools to help them lean towards the green, develop corporate social responsibility in the workplace and create eco-protocols and policies that work alongside the national curriculum, respectively.
Guerrilla gardening is political gardening, a form of nonviolent direct action, primarily practiced by environmentalists. Activists take over an abandoned piece of land which they don’t own to grow crops or plants. The practices are non-violent, unlike guerrilla warfare that can cause bloodshed. Guerrilla gardeners believe in reclaiming land from perceived neglect or misuse and assigning a new purpose for it.
Guerrilla gardeners will sometimes carry out their actions late at night geared up with gardening gloves, watering cans, compost, seeds and plants. They plant and sow a new vegetable patch or flowering garden. Others will work more openly, actively seeking to engage with members of the local community.
There is a community where you can advertise your planned attack, here http://guerrillagardening.org/community/index.php
World Brotherhood Colonies
World Brotherhood Colonies is an idea for cooperative spiritual living, first promoted by Paramahansa Yogananda as early as in 1932. Yogananda urged young people to pool their resources, buy land and build spiritual communities where they could live a life of "plain living and high thinking." Yogananda tried to establish World Brotherhood Colonies at his retreat centers in Southern California. They eventually were turned into monasteries for monks and nuns of Self-Realization Fellowship.
Yogananda often emphasized the need for intentional communities "founded on a spiritual basis." His vision for Colonies included couples, families, and single people sharing a cooperative community life, with the common bond of daily meditation and selfless service. He felt that Colonies would have a far-reaching effect on modern society:
“Man is a soul, not an institution; his inner reforms alone can lend permanence to outer ones. By stress on spiritual values, self-realization, a colony exemplifying world brotherhood is empowered to send inspiring vibrations far beyond its locale.”
A unique feature of Yogananda's World Brotherhood Colonies idea was that it offered married people and families a spiritually fulfilling community life. Many traditional monastic communities and ashrams offer most of the features of Yogananda's Colonies - simple living, selfless service, cooperation, and daily meditation.
Master envisioned the idea as one in which all may work together in a self-supporting group wherein each one is dedicated to God.
Yogananda often spoke of the practical benefits that come from cooperative living. Even though he was a teacher of meditation and yoga, he frequently gave practical advice on subjects such as diet, exercise, business, education, and prosperity. As early as 1932, he urged his students to avoid buying cars and other luxuries on the 'installment plan', similar to the modern credit card. As per him, living in such communities would help people be free of many of the ills that beset modern society.
He also wrote, in an early correspondence course:
“Gather together, those of you who share high ideals, pool your resources. Buy land out in the country. A simple life will bring you inner freedom. Harmony with nature will bring you a happiness known to few city dwellers. In the company of other truth seekers it will be easier for you to meditate and think of God.
What is the need for all the luxuries people surround themselves with? Most of what they have they are paying for on the installment plan. Their debts are a source of unending worry to them. Even people whose luxuries have been paid for are not free; attachment makes them slaves. They consider themselves freer for their possessions, and don't see how their possessions in turn possess them!
Let every man gather from five to ten thousand dollars, and, in groups of thirty, let them build self-sustaining, self-governing colonies, starting with California. Do not spend the principal of the money, except what is necessary to buy land and to start the colony. Put the money in a trust fund. Pay taxes with the interest. If taxes were abolished, people could live by exchange.... Time should not be wasted in producing luxuries.
Start now building colonies, and stop industrially selfish society from gambling with your destiny. Get away from the perpetual slavery of holding jobs to the last day of your life. Buy farms and settle down with harmonious friends. Work three hours a day and live in the luxury of literary wealth, and have time to constructively exchange Divine experiences and meditate.”
In that article, he gave five guidelines for people living in World Brotherhood Colonies:
Cut down luxuries.
Think yourself a child of God.
Think of all nationalities as your brothers.
Seek prosperity for yourself and for others.
Develop the creative thought of success every day after deep meditation.
Yogananda was so enthusiastic about the idea, that he once said, "I was thinking so much last night about world brotherhood colonies that my mind didn’t want to meditate. Then I chanted a little bit, and my mind came back to me." He also wrote a letter to Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, trying to elicit Ford's support for World Brotherhood Colonies. He felt so strongly about the idea, that he once declared, "The day will come when this colony idea will spread through the world like wildfire."
Swami Kriyananda wrote that a talk given by Yogananda on World Brotherhood Colonies was the most stirring lecture he ever heard. The occasion was a garden party in Beverly Hills, in July 1949:
"This day," he (Yogananda) thundered, punctuating every word, "marks the birth of a new era. My spoken words are registered in the ether, in the Spirit of God, and they shall move the West.... Self-Realization has come to unite all religions.... We must go on — not only those who are here, but thousands of youths must go North, South, East and West to cover the earth with little colonies, demonstrating that simplicity of living plus high thinking lead to the greatest happiness!"
On August 20, 1950, Yogananda dedicated the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine and Mahatma Gandhi World Peace Shrine at Pacific Palisades, California. He spoke to over 1500 people gathered there for the event. Much of his lecture revolved around what he called "the art of living", which included advice on how to find spiritual happiness, and how to achieve harmony between all people and religions. He spoke about World Brotherhood Colonies as an important aspect of the art of living:
“There must be world brotherhood if we are to be able to practice the true art of living, and in this connection I wish to emphasize four points.”
“...we must build colonies wherein we can take youths who are 100% willing and give them character education and the opportunity to find happiness, freedom, job, home, and church all in one place, and to produce food for their own use. We have started trial colonies at Encinitas and at Mt. Washington in Los Angeles, and we have some colonies in India too. Ours is not a church in the ordinary sense. We never ask anyone if he is Jew, Gentile, Mohammedan, or Catholic — willingness and good character are the criterion of acceptance....”
“The colony system is succeeding because it isn't simply church for an hour, but working together all the time for mutual good. We are not making empty members. All the ministers and many of the members have helped in the building of this SRF Lake Shrine. That is the secret. We must work for God and commune with Him. I believe that America is a wonderful country in which to try out brotherhood colonies, wherein mankind can learn that the first principle of life is happiness.”
In his autobiography, he wrote, "He hath made of one blood all nations of men. An urgent need on this war-torn earth is the founding, on a spiritual basis, of numerous world-brotherhood colonies. ‘World brotherhood’ is a large term, but man must enlarge his sympathies, considering himself in the light of a world citizen. He who truly understands that "it is my America, my India, my Philippines, my Europe, my Africa" and so on, will never lack scope for a useful and happy life.”
In 1968, Swami Kriyananda, a disciple of Yogananda, started the first Ananda community outside Nevada City, California, based on Yogananda's World Brotherhood Colonies principles. As of 2007, Ananda Village has grown to 840 acres, with 250 residents. The community includes schools (kindergarten through high school), private and community-owned businesses, gardens, a guest retreat and teaching center, a healing center, a museum and gift shop, publishing company, and more. Since the founding of Ananda Village, Ananda has begun six more World Brotherhood Colonies. As of 2007, there were approximately 1,000 residents living in the Ananda World Brotherhood Colonies.
Anarcho-primitivists advocate a return to non-"civilized" ways of life through deindustrialisation, abolition of division of labour or specialization, and abandonment of technology. Anarcho-primitivists are often distinguished by their focus on achieving a feral state through "rewilding".
Within the last half-century, societies once viewed as barbaric have been largely reevaluated by academics, some of whom now hold that early humans lived in relative peace and prosperity. Frank Hole, an early-agriculture specialist, and Kent Flannery, a specialist in Mesoamerican civilization, have noted that, "No group on earth has more leisure time than hunters and gatherers, who spend it primarily on games, conversation and relaxing."
The Affluenza Theory
Victory of Perceived Wants Over Real Needs
Affluenza refers to an epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness caused by the pursuit of the American Dream and an unsustainable addiction to economic growth. It is a social pathologic condition caused by overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more. Thus affluenza is placing an unreasonably high value on money, possessions, appearances (physical and social) and fame.
This theory proposes that the costs of acquiring material wealth vastly outweigh the benefits. Those who become wealthy will find the economic success leaving them unfulfilled and hungry for more wealth.
This insatiable greed for more and more possessions is leading to social inequality, stimulation of artificial needs, overconsumption, "luxury fever", consumer debt, overwork, waste, and harm to the environment. These pressures lead to "psychological disorders, alienation and distress", causing people to "self-medicate with mood-altering drugs and excessive alcohol consumption"
Higher rates of mental disorders are the consequence of excessive wealth-seeking in consumerist nations. As per World Health Organization, English-speaking nations have twice as much mental illness as mainland Europe: 23% vs 11.5% due to lesser prevalence of affluenza in mainland Europe as compared to English-speaking nations.
Affluenza is considered to be most present in the United States, where the culture encourages its citizens to measure their worth by financial success and material possessions. Mainstream media outlets, such as television, tend to demonstrate how pervasive the idea has become; and by the same token, the same media outlets reinforce the values to the viewers. Affluenza also tends to bring very high social costs and environmental strain by diminishing endangered natural resources like oil.
Proof of this disease lies in the fact that the economy is doing so well, but we are we not becoming happier. The solution lies when people start defining themselves as having value independent of their material possessions.
The word "freegan", is coined out of "free" and "vegan". Freeganism started in the mid 1990s, out of the antiglobalization and environmentalist movements.
Freeganism is an anti-consumerism lifestyle whereby people employ alternative living strategies based on "limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources. Freegans embrace community, generosity, social concern, freedom, cooperation, and sharing in opposition to a society based on materialism, moral apathy, competition, conformity, and greed." The lifestyle involves salvaging discarded, unspoiled food from supermarket dumpsters that have passed their sell by date, but are still edible and nutritious. They salvage the food not because they are poor or homeless, but as a political statement.
Freegans' motivations are varied and numerous; some adhere to it for environmental reasons, some for religious reasons and others do it to embrace the philosophy as a form of political consciousness.
Many freegans get free food by pulling it out of the trash, a practice commonly nicknamed ‘dumpster diving’ in North America and ‘skipping or bin diving’ in the UK. Freegans find food in the garbage of restaurants, grocery stores, and other food-related industries, and this allows them to avoid spending money on products that they claim exploit the world's resources, contribute to urban sprawl, treat workers unfairly, or disregard animal rights. By foraging, they believe that they are preventing edible food from adding to landfills and sometimes feed people and animals who might otherwise go hungry.
Instead of buying industrially grown foods, wild foragers find and harvest food and medicinal plants growing in their own communities. Some freegans participate in "Guerrilla" or "Community" Gardens, with the stated aim of rebuilding community and reclaiming the capacity to grow one's own food. They claim to seek an alternative to dependence and participation in what they perceive as an exploitative and ecologically destructive system of global, industrialized corporate food production.
Sharing is also a common freegan practice. “Food Not Bombs” recovers food that would otherwise go to waste to serve warm meals on the street to anyone who wants them. The group promotes an ethic of sharing and community while working to show what they consider to be the injustice of a society in which fighting wars is considered a higher priority than feeding the hungry.
“Really, Really Free Markets” are free social events in which freegans can share goods instead of discarding them, share skills, give presents and eat food.
Freegans also advocate sharing travel resources. Internet-based ridesharing reduces the use of cars and all the related resources needed to maintain and operate them.
Community Bicycle Programs
This is an international movement to promote environmentally friendly transportation. The central concept is free (or nearly free) access to bicycles for inner-city transport. These programs appear in all shapes and sizes in cities throughout the world. The goal is to reduce the use of automobiles for short trips inside the city and diminish traffic congestion, noise and air-pollution.
Community Bike Programs and Bike Collectives facilitate community sharing of bicycles, restore found and broken bikes, and teach people how to do their own bike repairs. In the process they build a culture of skill and resource sharing, reuse wasted bikes and bike parts, and create greater access to environmentally friendly transportation.
These programs are also known as Yellow bicycle programs, White bicycle programs, bike sharing, public bike or free bike.
The bikes can be returned at any station in the system, which facilitates one way rides to work, education or shopping centres. Thus, one bike may take 10-15 rides a day with different users and can be ridden up to 10,000 km (6000 miles) a year.
Frugality in the context of certain belief systems, is a philosophy in which one does not trust, or is deeply wary of "expert" knowledge, often from commercial markets or corporate cultures, claiming to know what is in the best economic, material, or spiritual interests of the individual.
There are many different spiritual communities that consider frugality a virtue or a spiritual discipline. The Religious Society of Friends and the Puritans are examples of such groups. The basic philosophy behind this is the idea that people ought to save money in order to allocate it to more charitable purposes, such as helping others in need.
There are also environmentalists who consider frugality to be a virtue through which humans can make use of their ancestral skills as hunter-gatherers, carrying little and needing little, and finding meaning in nature instead of man-made conventions or religion. Henry David Thoreau expressed a similar philosophy in Walden, with his zest for self-reliance and minimal possessions while simply living in the woods.
Sustainable living might be defined as a lifestyle that could be sustained without exhausting natural resources. The term can be applied to individuals or societies. This concept is generally applied in the areas of transport, housing, energy, and diet. Sustainable living aims at shifting from a fossil fuel-based, automobile-centered economy to a renewable energy-based, diversified transport and reuse/recycle economy.
Sustainable living is a sub-division of sustainability where the prerequisites of a modern, industrialized society are left unexercised by choice for a variety of reasons.
The publication of Living the Good Life by Helen and Scott Nearing in 1954 is the modern-day beginning of the sustainability movement. The book fostered the back-to-the-land movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
In 1972, Donella Meadows wrote the international bestselling book ‘The Limits to Growth’, which reported on a study of long-term global trends in population, economics, and the environment. It sold millions of copies and was translated into 28 languages.
Plain dress is a religious practice, developed in the late 18th century, where people dress in clothes of simple design, simple fabric, and unrevealing cut. It is used to indicate the simplicity of the wearers life, and the separateness from the rest of the world. It is practiced by some Amish, Apostolics, Brethren, Mennonites, and Friends (Quakers).
A cohousing community is planned, owned and managed by the residents, groups of people who want more interaction with their neighbours and avail economic and environmental benefits of sharing resources, space and items.
A cohousing community is a kind of intentional community composed of private homes with basic facilities supplemented by extensive common facilities. Common facilities vary but usually include a large kitchen and dining room where residents can take turns cooking for the community. Other facilities may include a laundry, pool, child care facilities, offices, internet access, game room, TV room, tool room or a gym. Through spatial design and shared social and management activities, cohousing facilitates intergenerational interaction among neighbours, for the social and practical benefits.
The modern theory of cohousing originated in Denmark in the 1960s among groups of families who were dissatisfied with existing housing and communities that they felt did not meet their needs. Bodil Graae published "Children Should Have One Hundred Parents," spurring a group of 50 families to organize around a community project in 1967. This group developed the cohousing project Sættedammen, which is the oldest known cohousing community in the world. The first community in the United States to be designed, constructed and occupied specifically for cohousing is Muir Commons in Davis, California.
Hundreds of cohousing communities exist in Denmark and other countries in northern Europe. There are nearly 100 operating communities in the United States with more than 100 others in the planning phases. In Canada, there are 7 completed communities, and approximately 15 in the planning/construction process. There are also communities in Australia, the UK and other parts of the world.
This form of living goes a long way in conserving the resources and protecting the environment. This form of habitation allows more space for social forestry.
Survivalism is an individual endeavour to survive a collapse of national system either due to economic failure or nuclear exchange etc. A survivalist prepares to lay low during a socio-economic collapse by migrating to low risk areas and building up inventory of essentials and if required fortify the hideout for possible pillage.
In the 60’s, this concept rose to prominence with concerns of monetary devaluation, possible nuclear exchanges between the US and the Soviet Union and vulnerability of urban centers.
In 1976, survival bookseller and author Don Stephens in Washington (author of The Survivor's Primer & Updated Retreater's Bibliography, 1976) popularized the term "retreater" and advocated relocating to a rural retreat when society breaks down.
Survivalist retreat books of the 1980s were typified by the 1980 book, ‘Life After Doomsday’ by Bruce D. Clayton advocating survival retreats in locales that would minimize fallout and specially-constructing Blast shelters and/or Fallout shelters that would provide Fallout Protection in the event of a nuclear war.
In recent years, advocates of survivalist retreats have had a strong resurgence after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York in 2001 and similar attacks in Bali, Spain, and London.
Online survival websites, forums, and blogs discuss the best locales for survival retreats, how to build, fortify, and equip them, and how to form survivalist retreat groups. In his books and in his blog (SurvivalBlog), James Wesley Rawles uses the generic term "beans, bullets and Band Aids" to describe retreat logistics.
Social ecology proposes that at the root of all environmental ills lie an overly competitive grow-or-die philosophy which is rooted in dominatory hierarchical political and social systems. It suggests that this cannot be resisted by individual action such as ethical consumerism but must be addressed by more nuanced ethical thinking and collective activity grounded in radical democratic ideals. The complexity of relationships between people and with nature is emphasised, along with the importance of establishing social structures that take account of this.
What literally defines social ecology as "social" is its recognition of the often overlooked fact that nearly all our present ecological problems arise from deep-seated social problems. Conversely, present ecological problems cannot be clearly understood, much less resolved, without resolutely dealing with problems within society. To make this point more concrete: economic, ethnic, cultural, and gender conflicts, among many others, lie at the core of the most serious ecological dislocations we face today—apart, to be sure, from those that are produced by natural catastrophes.
Social ecology locates the roots of the ecological crisis firmly in relations of domination between people. The domination of nature is seen as a product of domination within society, but this domination only reaches crisis proportions under capitalism. In the words of Murray Bookchin, the main thinker of social ecological thought:
"The notion that man must dominate nature emerges directly from the domination of man by man… But it was not until organic community relations… dissolved into market relationships that the planet itself was reduced to a resource for exploitation. This centuries-long tendency finds its most exacerbating development in modern capitalism. Owing to its inherently competitive nature, bourgeois society not only pits humans against each other, it also pits the mass of humanity against the natural world. Just as men are converted into commodities, so every aspect of nature is converted into a commodity, a resource to be manufactured and merchandised wantonly. The plundering of the human spirit by the market place is paralleled by the plundering of the earth by capital." (Post Scarcity Anarchism)
Planetary Phase of Civilization
Centuries earlier, civilizations were localized and while one went into ruination, another one in another part of the world thrived. Concept of the Planetary Phase of Civilization proposes that today’s civilization is a global phenomenon due to increased global connectivity, new information technologies, environmental change in the biosphere, economic globalization, and shifts in culture and consciousness. While it is generally agreed that some form of planetary society is taking shape and binding the world’s people and biosphere into a common fate, the future character of global society is uncertain and contested.
The concept of the planetary phase of civilization has become popular in the academic field of environmental science. In "Building a Global Culture of Peace,” Steven C. Rockefeller states that "...we have entered a planetary phase in the development of civilization – what the historians call an era of global history." In his article entitled "Paths to Planetary Civilization," Ervin László describes this planetary civilization as one in which "The consensually created and globally coordinated ecosocial market system begins to function" and "The natural resources required for health and vitality become available to all the peoples and countries of the human community."
This kind of scenario analysis helps analysts think in an organized fashion about future alternatives, key decision points, and possible obstacles to global development. It then becomes possible to determine how to avoid the less-favorable directions and encourage changes to nurture a more beneficial one.
Global Citizens Movement
The concept of a global citizen first emerged among the Greek Cynics in the 4th Century BC, who coined the term “cosmopolitan” – meaning citizen of the world. The Roman Stoics later elaborated on the concept. The contemporary concept of cosmopolitanism, which proposes that all individuals belong to a single moral community, has gained a new salience as scholars examine the ethical requirements of the planetary phase of civilization.
In most discussions, the global citizens movement is a socio-political process rather than a political organization or party structure. The term is often used synonymously with the anti-globalization movement, the movement of movements, or the global justice movement.
Global citizens movement has been used by activists to refer to a number of organized and overlapping citizens groups who seek to influence public policy often with the hope of establishing global solidarity on an issue. Such efforts include advocacy on ecological sustainability, corporate responsibility, social justice and similar progressive issues.
Today’s objective and subjective conditions have led to emergence of a global civic identity and a latent pool of tens of millions of people ready to identify around new values of earth consciousness.
The phrase deep ecology was coined by the Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss in 1973. Bill Devall and George Sessions, two prominent proponents, define Deep ecology, “as a process of ever-deeper questioning of ourselves, the assumptions of the dominant worldview in our culture, and the meaning and truth of our reality.”
The core principle of deep ecology is that, like humanity, the living environment as a whole has the same right to live and flourish. Deep ecology is a recent branch of ecological philosophy (ecosophy) that considers humankind an integral part of its environment. Deep ecology has led to a new system of environmental ethics. Deep ecology describes itself as "deep" because it persists in asking deeper questions concerning "why" and "how" and thus is concerned with the fundamental philosophical questions about the impacts of human life as one part of the ecosphere, rather than with a narrow view of ecology as a branch of biological science.
“In technocratic-industrial societies there is overwhelming propaganda and advertising which encourages false needs and destructive desires designed to foster increased production and consumption of goods,” say Devall and Sessions. “Most of this actually diverts us from facing reality in an objective way and from beginning the ‘real work’ of spiritual growth and maturity.”
Deep ecologists would like to see much of the world returned to wilderness. They also speak of the “biocentric equality” of all living things. By this they mean that “all things in the biosphere have an equal right to live and blossom and to reach their own individual forms of unfolding and self-realization within the larger Self-realization.”
Arne Næss rejected the idea that beings can be ranked according to their relative value. For example, judgments on whether an animal has an eternal soul, whether it uses reason or whether it has consciousness (or indeed higher consciousness) have all been used to justify the ranking of the human animal as superior to other animals. Næss states that "the right of all forms [of life] to live is an universal right which cannot be quantified. No single species of living being has more of this particular right to live and unfold than any other species."
Deep ecology offers a philosophical basis for environmental protection which may, in turn, guide human activity against perceived self-destruction. Deep ecology and environmentalism hold that the science of ecology shows that ecosystems can absorb only limited change by humans or other dissonant influences. Further, both hold that the actions of modern civilization threaten global ecological well-being.
Regardless of which model is most accurate, environmentalists contend that massive human economic activity has pushed the biosphere far from its "natural" state through reduction of biodiversity, climate change, and other influences. As a consequence, civilization is causing mass extinction. Deep ecologists hope to influence social and political change through their philosophy.
Deep Ecology and Spirituality
The central spiritual tenet of deep ecology is that the human species is a part of the Earth and not separate from it. A process of self-realisation or "re-earthing" is used for an individual to intuitively gain an ecocentric perspective. The notion is based on the idea that the more we expand the self to identify with "others" (people, animals, ecosystems), the more we realise ourselves.
Other traditions which have influenced deep ecology include Taoism, Buddhism and Jainism primarily because they have a non-dualistic approach to subject and object. In relation to the Judeo-Christian tradition, Næss offers the following criticism: "The arrogance of stewardship [as found in the Bible] consists in the idea of superiority which underlies the thought that we exist to watch over nature like a highly respected middleman between the Creator and Creation." This theme had been expounded in Lynn Townsend White, Jr.'s 1967 article "The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis", in which however he also offered as an alternative Christian view of man's relation to nature that of Saint Francis of Assisi, who he says spoke for the equality of all creatures, in place of the idea of man's domination over creation.
Proponents of deep ecology believe that the world does not exist as a resource to be freely exploited by humans. Present human interference with the nonhuman world is excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening.
In practice, deep ecologists support decentralization, the creation of eco-regions and the breakdown of industrialism in its current form.
Parallels have been drawn between deep ecology and other movements, in particular the animal rights movement and ‘Earth First’ movement.
Development criticism, also known as anti-modernism, refers to criticisms of modern technology, industrialization, capitalism and economic globalization. Development critics see modernization as harmful for both humans and the environment.
Development criticism was born with the modern concept of development. One famous critic of modern life in the nineteenth century was the writer Henry Thoreau, who preferred living in the woods to living in the city.
The best-known development critic is Mohandas Gandhi, who heavily criticized modern technology and many other characteristics of western culture. Like many other development critics, he recommended local food production for local consumption rather than for trade. Similar thinkers often criticize contemporary globalization.
Happiness is a central theme of development-critical writings. Modern societies, despite their goal-oriented complexity and amount of labour time, do not help people to reach happiness, according to some development critics. In their view, happiness may be harder to reach in modern society than in primitive ones.
Often development critics criticize concepts used in modern societies, such as poverty and other welfare-related conceptualizations such as the human development index and gross national product. They say such concepts make the life of primitive or alternative societies look misleadingly dull to modern people. Modern societies apply subjective standards for welfare universally and (mis)judge other societies by them. Development critics often regard attempts to develop non-developed societies as a cause of misery and trouble, and thus recommend that development projects should be cancelled. Some even see the word "development" as negative and think that it represents conceptual imperialism.
Ecotheology is a form of constructive theology that focuses on the interrelationships of religion and nature in the light of environmental concerns. Ecotheology starts from the premise that a relationship exists between human religious/spiritual worldviews and the degradation of nature. It explores the interaction between ecological values, such as sustainability, and the human domination of nature. The movement has produced numerous religious-environmental projects around the world.
The relationship of theology to the modern ecological crisis became an intense issue of debate in Western academia in 1967, following the publication of the article, "The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis, " by Lynn White, Professor of History at the University of California at Los Angeles. In this work, White puts forward a theory that the Christian model of human dominion over nature has led to environmental devastation.
Hindu ecotheology includes writers such as Vandana Shiva. Seyyid Hossein Nasr, a liberal Muslim theologian, was one of the earlier voices calling for a re-evaluation of the Western relationship to nature.
Christianity has often been viewed as the source of negative values towards the environment. Of course there are many voices within the Christian tradition whose vision embraces the well-being of the earth and all creatures. While St. Francis of Assisi is one of the more obvious influences on Christian ecotheology, there are many theologians and teachers whose work has profound implications for Christian thinkers. Many of these are less well-known in the West because their primary influence has been on the Orthodox Church rather than the Roman Catholic Church.
Eco-communalism is an environmental philosophy based on ideals of simple living, local economies, and self-sufficiency. Eco-communalists envision a future in which the economic system of capitalism is replaced with a global web of economically interdependent and interconnected small local communities. Decentralized government, a focus on agriculture and ‘green economics’.
One of the prominent documents on the subject describes eco-communalism as a “vision of a better life” which turns to “non-material dimensions of fulfillment – the quality of life, the quality of human solidarity and the quality of the earth.”
Eco-communalism finds its roots in a diverse set of ideologies which include:
Pastoral reaction to industrialization-William Morris.
Nineteenth-century social utopians- Thompson, 1993.
The Small Is Beautiful philosophy-E.F. Schumacher, 1972. Traditionalism of Gandhi-Great Transition, 1993.
The term eco-communalism was first coined by the Global scenario group (GSG), which was convened in 1995 by Paul Raskin.
It urges our society to advance past reckless industrialism towards a more localized, environmentally palatable system.
In 1983, E.F. Schumacher published Small Is Beautiful, a collection of essays in which he expressed the unsustainability of the modern world’s consumption behavior and the need for a new outlook to prevent otherwise inevitable environmental collapse: "Ever bigger machines, entailing ever bigger concentrations of economic power and exerting ever greater violence against the environment, do not represent progress: they are a denial of wisdom. Wisdom demands a new orientation of science and technology towards the organic, the gentle, the non-violent, the elegant and beautiful."
Rather than a world of capitalist states and their often exploited workers driven by their own greed, eco-communalism envisions a world in which government is decentralized, settlements are integrated with larger cities, local farming is the primary source of produce, and ecological thinking and interconnectedness are the new human values.
The Amish are an Anabaptist Christian denomination, formed in 1693 by Swiss Mennonites led by Jacob Amman. They live in the United States and Canada and are divided into several major groups. The Old Order Amish use horses for farming and transportation, dress in a traditional manner, and forbid electricity or telephones in the home. Church members do not join the military, apply for Social Security benefits, take out insurance or accept any form of financial assistance from the government.
At home, most Amish speak a dialect known as Pennsylvania Dutch, Pennsylvania German, or Deitsch. Children learn English in school. The Amish are divided into separate fellowships consisting of geographical districts or congregations. Each district is fully independent and has its own Ordnung, or set of unwritten rules. Old Order churches may shun or expel members who violate these rules. Amish mode of transport is mostly horse wagons and they avoid cars.
Human ecology is an academic discipline that deals with the relationship between humans and their natural, social and created environments. Human ecology investigates how humans and human societies interact with nature and with their environment.
Human Ecology, as an interdisciplinary applied field, uses a holistic approach to help people solve problems and enhance human potential within their near environments - their clothing, family, home, and community. Human Ecologists promote the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through education, prevention, and empowerment.
In the USA, human ecology was established as a sociological field in the 1920's, although geographers were using the term much earlier. Amos H. Hawley published ‘Human Ecology - A Theory of Community Structure’ in 1950.
Humans are no longer seen as an exceptional species that uses culture to adapt to new environments and environmental change, influenced more by social than by biological variables, but rather as one species out of many that interacts with a bounded natural environment.
Influences can be seen between human ecology and the field of political ecology. Human ecology explores not only the influence of humans on their environment but also the influence of the environment on human behaviour, and their adaptive strategies as they come to understand those influences better.
Voluntary Human Extinction Movement
The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, or VHEMT (pronounced "vehement"), is a movement that calls for the voluntary extinction of the human race with a motto, "May we live long and die out".
The basic concept behind VHEMT is the belief that the Earth would be better off without humans, and as such, humans should refuse to breed. However, this does not mean that they intend to force people to not breed, to kill anyone, or to commit suicide.
Les U. Knight, credited with giving the name "Voluntary Human Extinction Movement", is the owner of VHEMT.org, and is cited as the founder, de facto leader or "prime avatar", in different publications. VHEMT Volunteers refuse to have no children (or no more, if they already have children).
In 2001, Knight appeared on Hannity & Colmes to present VHEMT's ideology. On the program, he stated that "as long as there's one breeding pair of homo sapiens, there's too great a threat to the biosphere." He also expressed no hope for voluntary human extinction, but stated that "it is the right thing to do."
VHEMT spreads its message through the Internet, thus reaching mainly wealthier nations. As a general rule, these countries already have fertility rates below the replacement rate and are thus already trending toward "human extinction," or at least a reduced population. However, according to VHEMT, wealthier nations have the largest impact on world resources.
Broadly defined, homesteading is a lifestyle of simple, agrarian self-sufficiency.
Currently the term homesteading applies to anyone who is a part of the back-to-the-land movement and who chooses to live a sustainable, self-sufficient lifestyle. While land is no longer freely available in most areas of the world, homesteading remains as a way of life. A new movement, called "urban homesteading," can be viewed as a simple living lifestyle, incorporating small-scale agriculture, sustainable and permaculture gardening, and home food production and storage into suburban or city living.
Ecotivity is an abbreviation of the term, ecological activity. It denotes any activity that promotes the conservation or sustainability of ecosystems and bio-diversity.
In more general terms, an ecotivity can be thought of as any ecologically friendly activity. Ecotivities therefore make a positive contribution to averting the environmental crisis of the planet or means of effecting positive change.
Ecotivities include all associated values, actions, and choices either as a green consumer, or as an individual living a sustainable lifestyle, for example, by recycling or energy efficiency. Ecotivity can also be of political, direct action, hand-on environmental conservation, and creative confrontational acts, that are a means to protect the environment.
Consume What You Produce, Produce What You Need
Self-sufficiency is the state of not requiring any aid, support, or interaction, for survival; it is therefore a type of personal or collective autonomy. On a national scale, a totally self-sufficient economy that does not trade with the outside world is called an autarky.
The term self-sufficiency is usually applied to varieties of sustainable living in which nothing is consumed outside of what is produced by the self-sufficient individuals. Practices that enable or aid self-sufficiency include autonomous building, permaculture, sustainable agriculture, and renewable energy.
The term ‘post-modern self-sufficiency’ or ‘escape capitalism’ refers to a mode of life that seeks to exist outside industrialized non-agrarian ‘Western’ norms.
Earth Day was first conceived by John McConnell as a global holiday to celebrate the wonder of life on our planet and to inspire awareness of and appreciation for the Earth's environment. The United Nations celebrates Earth Day each year on the March equinox. Also an observance originated by Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in, is also being called Earth Day since 1970 and celebrated in many countries on April 22.
March Equinox marks the first moment of Spring, when day and night are equal around the world and hearts and minds can join together with thoughts of harmony and Earth's rejuvenation. Just as a single prayer can be significant, how much more so when hundreds, thousands, millions of people throughout the world join in peaceful thoughts and prayers to nurture neighbor and nature.
The first Proclamation of Earth Day was by San Francisco, the City of Saint Francis, patron saint of ecology. Designating the First Day of Spring, March 21, 1970 to be Earth Day, this day of nature's equipoise was later sanctioned in a Proclamation signed by Secretary General U Thant at the United Nations where it is observed each year. Earth Day was firmly established for all time on a sound basis as an annual event to deepen reverence and care for life on our planet.
On April 22 in year 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment. Denis Hayes, the national coordinator, and his youthful staff organized massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.
Mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting the status of environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day on April 22 in 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
Margaret Mead added her support for the equinox Earth Day, and in 1978 declared:
“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, is devoted to the preservation of the harmony in nature and yet draws upon the triumphs of technology, the measurement of time, and instantaneous communication through space.”