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Thirty-eight years after the first Earth Day, our progressive friends continue their long, green march through the institutions.
One doomsday scenario after another has fueled their anxiety and goosed them onward.
At Earth Day I in 1970, biologist Paul Ehrlich promised a “Population Bomb” that would kill as many as a half a billion people in the next 10 or so years and only that few if a new pope “gives his blessing to abortion.”
By 1975, the doomsday du jour was global cooling, whose “ominous signs,” Newsweek promised, “may portend a drastic decline in food production.”
By 1982, in an effort to forestall the placement of Pershing missiles in Western Europe, the KGB had concocted the “nuclear winter” scare and found a useful idiot in PBS’ resident pothead, Carl Sagan, to shill for it.
Today, the not-so-jolly green giant, Al Gore, frightens Democrats and school children with the most politically potent – and adaptable – doomsday scenario of all: “climate change.”
Gore and friends, however, do the environmental movement a disservice by focusing their attention on the barbarians outside their precious gates – oil execs, the pope, Reagan, NASCAR.
In researching my book, “What’s The Matter With California,” I discovered that many of the more enduring blows to the biosphere have come from within the progressive coalition.
What Al Gore refuses to see, let alone to concede, is the harm that his various allies have wrought on Mother Gaia, none more so than feminists.
Equal pay for equal work also means equal commutes. In California, it is not at all unusual in two-income families for the two jobs to be an hour or more apart.
With only one parent in the workforce, the family has the ability to live closer to the breadwinner’s place of employment, and most do.
Indeed, stay-at-homes moms save the state’s highway infrastructure from meltdown, especially since a “nanny” often drives to the working mom’s house, putting three cars on the road where otherwise one would do.
Homeschooling moms further ease the strain on the ecosystem by keeping their kids off the road. The California judged who ruled that “parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children” obviously did not prepare an environmental impact statement before doing so.
As part of its sexual and feminist flowering, California all but invented no-fault divorce in 1969, the same year the Santa Barbara oil spill jumpstarted the environmental movement.
In 1970, the first full year of the no-fault law, the state registered a record 112,942 divorces, a 38 percent increase from just the year before. To put that number in perspective, consider that in 1960, there had been only 105,352 marriages in California.
When not ignoring divorce completely, the media have done their best to trivialize it. PBS’ “Sesame Street,” for instance, offered a typically perky vignette on the subject, in which a cute little bird describes her home life.
She frolics part of the time in her mother’s nest, she tells Kermit the Frog, and the rest of her time in a separate tree where she frolics with her dad. “They both love me,” she chirps.
If, however, mom has a nest, and dad has a nest, California needs a whole lot more nests than it otherwise would, not to mention more resources to heat, cool, light and water those nests and more gas to ferry the baby birds between them.
There is a relevant emotional factor at play here as well. Divorce expert Judith Wallerstein has identified a shared anxiety among children of divorce, namely a “fear of loss, fear of change and fear that disaster will strike, especially when things are going well.”
Today, adult children of divorce have enormous influence in this, the greenest state in the land of the free. One has to question how their anxieties, upon reaching critical mass, have skewed the state’s thinking on issues like growth, energy and the environment.
There are, alas, too many well-placed Californians capable of confusing a new strip mall or subdivision, let alone an uptick in the temperature, with the end of the world as we know it.
Many of these people live in San Mateo County, the affluent stretch just south of San Francisco. For a dozen self-satisfied years now it has been producing an amusing document called “Indicators for a Sustainable San Mateo County.”
The document evaluates 31 trends “that form a snapshot of sustainability.” The county typically congratulates itself for “increased use of solar,” “fewer contaminated sites,” “more transit oriented development” and even “improved academic performance.”
It is not until the end that the county slips in a chart showing that a family of median income – higher in San Mateo than just about anywhere – can afford to buy, last time I looked, only 12 percent of the homes in the county.
In the less enlightened Kansas City, by contrast, a family of average income can afford to buy 87 percent of the homes in the market, which is typical for flyover country.
Nowhere in the San Mateo document is there any acknowledgement that certain green measures – particularly restraints on building – are what have priced the middle class out of the county.
Still, for all their preening greenness, the nabobs of San Mateo need someone to haul their trash, fight their fires, bandage their chin tucks and teach the few children they bother having.
Unfortunately, these San Mateo worker-bees cannot afford to live in San Mateo. So they create a veritable trail of carbon each day as they trudge in from their sweaty homelands an hour or two east.
Fortunately for San Mateo, however, their helots leave most of that carbon behind in Alameda County or San Joaquin, all of which goes to suggest that the only group possibly worse for the environment than feminists are environmentalists.
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