As most know, last Monday was Earth Day. A holiday focused on awareness of environmental causes, there were many activities connected to the global observance held at Mason.
Celebrating the efforts to maintain a healthy environment on the third planet from the Sun are widely socially accepted. Exempting the occasional right-wing concerns over extremist environmentalism, most everyone either takes part in Earth Day or at the very least looks upon it ambivalently.
This even though one of the major figureheads of the effort to create an Earth Day was a convicted murderer.
Ira Einhorn, a bearded, bespectacled hippie was the master of ceremonies for the first ever Earth Day, held in 1970 as a rally at Fairmount Park in Philadelphia.
A self-described pacifist, as reported by Remy Melina of NBC News Einhorn’s stated disdain for violence did not extend to his girlfriend Helen “Holly” Maddux. In Sept. 1977, Maddux went missing.
“It wasn’t until 18 months later that investigators searched Einhorn’s apartment after one of his neighbors complained that a reddish-brown, foul-smelling liquid was leaking from the ceiling directly below Einhorn’s bedroom closet,” wrote Remy Melina.
“Inside the closet, police found Maddux’s beaten and partially mummified body stuffed into a trunk that had also been packed with Styrofoam, air fresheners and newspapers.”
Presently, Einhorn is serving a life sentence for the murder. To be callous, one can note that he not only was a murderer, but by using of all things Styrofoam he was a bad environmentalist.
This major rotten apple has hardly destroyed the ecological awareness movement, much less resulted in a cessation of Earth Day celebrations. Neither has the presence of eco-terrorist organizations, who year after year the Federal Bureau of Investigation considers its top domestic terrorist threat.
As John Lewis, an FBI deputy assistant director, testified before Congress in 2005, “There is nothing else going on in this country, over the last several years, that is racking up the high number of violent crimes and terrorist actions, arsons, etc, that this particular area of domestic terrorism has caused.”
Some would argue the success of environmentalism in general and Earth Day in particular comes from a biased media that seldom reports these facts when covering the cause. Yet that same media has been more than willing to acknowledge the horrid acts of ecological extremists.
Mason did not celebrate Earth Day last week because one of the holiday’s founders was a convicted murderer and some who adhere to its ideals commit acts of terror. Rather, Mason students and faculty celebrated Earth Day because they recognized that the fundamentals of the cause, as well as the mainstream of said movement, are benign in nature.
Einhorn’s horrible act does not negate the arguments that pollution damages wildlife and that harm to environment often negatively affects human life. The violent behavior of an ecological terrorist group does not debunk the evidence that fossil fuels harm air quality or that years ago chloro- fluorocarbons were ripping apart our o-zone layer.
A truly benevolent cause can withstand constructive criticism; it can survive badly behaved members, and even the occasional poor argument. Earth Day shows that.