Earth Day 1970: Action for Survival.

The April 1970 issue of The Progressive was devoted to the first Earth Day. Extra copies were printed and given to organizers and activists for a variety of events. The issue featured articles by key environmental thinkers, as well as a prologue and afinal article on actions and resources prepared by the magazine's staff. For this fiftieth anniversary of the first Earth Day, we bring you an excerpt from the introduction:

It may sound apocalyptic to suggest that man and the nature he corrupts are speeding toward extinction. But the harsh reality, as emphasized by many of our hard-headed experts, is that a new Four Horsemen--Overpopulation, Pollution, the Famine of Resources, and Nuclear War--are riding relentlessly on their mission of destruction.

The process of ravaging our planet has been going on for a long time. The obsessive American hunger for growth, more creature comforts, and an ever fatter Gross National Product--no matter how great the price for polluting and pillaging our national heritage--has contributed significantly to the mounting crisis. To question the sacred assumption that economic growth is always an unmixed blessing is, as The Wall Street Journal noted recently, "to threaten the American dream itself."

But the dream has become a nightmare. A runaway technology, whose only law is profit, has for decades corrupted our air, ravished our soil, denuded our forests, and polluted our water resources. The result is an environment assailed by noxious doses of fumes, sewage, smoke, noise, filth, chemicals, ugliness, and urban decay. And the crisis is compounded by a steadily rising population in defiance of all sense and science.

The choice, both within and between parties, will be between those...

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