EARTH DAY'S DONE; I'M BACK TO NATURE
EARTH DAY'S DONE; I'M BACK TO NATURE
by Debra J. Saunders
The world is safe again. Earth Day -- The Video has joined history.
Those of us who quietly recycle bottles and cans and try to save
go back to leading our lives. And we won't have to listen to a flock of
crazed ecoterrorists trying to infuse us with guilt because we live in
homes whose walls aren't made of recycled trash, dirt, and old tires.
Life is good. It's fast and sweet.
And I've got years ahead on the bright side of 40.
Fast and sweet?
Earth day is barely over and already those who vowed to become
energy saints are speeding when traffic permits.
As Earth Day fades to black, environmental extremism is about to
return to the shadows -- to the candlelit caverns of those who prefer
worms to work, dirt to development and their own homemade brand of
anthropology to the modern world.
Now, when the ecofeminists stir their cauldrons, there will be no
TV crew recording them. Who are ecofeminists? Well, their premise is
that men are bad and that the whole planet must change fundamentally to
make up for men's deficiencies.
As ecofeminist Gloria Feman Orenstein, also an associate professor
at USC, put it during the witches' week, "The Earth and women have been
continually raped and violated."
But the EFs' answer to the male dominance they see everywhere isn't
to take a few self-defense courses so they can pummel the obnoxious
brutes. No, they believe in psychological warfare. Like other
environmental extremists, their method is to make men feel as if the
world's problems are their fault.
As Orenstein said, "It is not sufficient to change the roles of
women and men without taking into consideration the fact that Western
patriarchy has viewed both women and the Earth as 'the other.' Nor does
it suffice to heal the Earth and neglect women's subordination in our
According to EFs, it all goes back to the Gods and Goddesses. Back
in the good old days when people spent their days romping in the
gardens and being kind, people worshipped Goddesses. In the
good-old-Goddess days, people lived in a "partnership society" -- and
people were not just partners with each other, but with toads and
squirrels and maggots and all other animal life.
But then came those rotten male Gods that made people thing they
were better than non-human nature. "The Patriarchal Father God has
become the symbol of that controlling, instrumental attitude both
towards the Earth and toward women," according to Orenstein. It's wrong
to be controlling. It's wrong to want to live better than a lizard.
They want us to return to the good old days when we lived in caves
and cavemen were so nice that they worshipped Goddesses and didn't try
to dominate women.
And you thought you had to go back to the Middle Ages to find
people with minds that primitive.
But EFs are fringe, you say. Nobody takes them seriously. Orenstein
is one of the reasons they make all those jokes about USC. But EFs,
ecoterrorists, all those "committed environmentalists" WERE taken
seriously last week. And it is their point of view that swings the
What ecofeminists really are is anti-power.
That's why their Goddesses are now serving TV dinners to the Gods
in Mount Olympus.
Ecofeminists don't like power. They can't wait for the meek to
inherit the Earth. And they don't believe in progress.
And since they are so utterly opposed to human aggression, they
promote the banner of returning to nature without taking human nature
into account. They just don't like the way people want to live today.
They say we're greedy.
Earth Day is over and today I will celebrate progress and
self-interest. I will travel the Earth at speeds unimagined centuries
ago. I will write on a computer system that, when it's working, can
perform time-consuming research in seconds. I will dance to electric
sounds and watch people fight for freedom on the evening news. And I
will feel just grand.
Let the ecofeminists distrust power. We know that power sets man
and woman free. And the answer to power abused isn't taking it away
from everyone; the answer is to spread it around.
I'm not saying Earth Day was bad. Because of all those Earth Day
events and politicians who had to do something, a lot of people planted
baby trees and that's nice. Now I'm ready to return to the grittiest
nature of them all -- human nature.
Debra J. Saunders is a Los Angeles Daily News editorial writer. Her
column appears each Monday and Thursday.
Response to Ms. Saunders' column...mailed 4/24/90
To the Editors:
I must say that I was made very angry by Debra Saunders' diatribe
in the 4/23/90 Op Ed section. Again and again, instead of condemning
the real "ecoterrorists" like the tree spiking, tripwire setting
lunatic fringe of Earth First, she vented her spleen against the
religion of Neo-paganism. Sure, she veiled her insults with the term
"Ecofeminist", but it is obvious that she is attacking Earth Religion
in general, the Dianic strain in particular.
Again and again, she strikes out at Dianic Neo-paganism, with
glittering generalizations flying left and right. Her tone is
patronizing and mocking, and shows that she didn't even bother to
investigate further than interviewing ONE University professor before
she booted up her computer and wrote her piece of yellow prose.
"According to EFs, it all goes back to the Gods and
Goddesses. Back in the good old days when people spent
their days romping in the gardens and being kind,
people worshipped Goddesses. In the good-old-Goddess
days, people lived in a "partnership society" -- and
people were not just partners with each other, but
with toads and squirrels and maggots and all other
animal life. But then came those rotten male Gods
that made people think they were better than
non-human nature. It's wrong to be controlling. It's
wrong to want to live better than a lizard.
They want us to return to the good old days when
we lived in caves....And you thought you had to go
back to the Middle Ages to find people with minds
The fact of the matter is that there are far more Neo-pagans in
computer programming and other high-tech occupations than Neo-pagans in
any other occupation. We are not technophobes that want to go back to
the cave. In fact, I am writing this on my very own computer. I like
technological doodads and gewgaws. I have no problems with cars and
electricity and other things that make life easier than it was in the
Stone Age. The Neo-pagan commitment to honoring the Earth is not a
commitment to sacrificing progress on the altar of conservation. It is
a commitment to our future...a future that cannot come if the Earth is
reduced to a sterile hunk of rock. It is a commitment to balancing
progress with proper stewardship of the planet.
And most Neo-pagans do not hanker after a revival of a Paleolithic
Matriarchy, either. Even most Dianic Neo-pagans, who worship primarily
(or exclusively) a Goddess, do not believe that men are the root of the
world's problems. Most Neo-pagans also acknowledge a God, and seek not
the dominance of Female over Male, Goddess over God, but a balance
between the two.
Balance, not extremism, is the true spirit of Neo-paganism.
MINERVA CIHACOU WHITE PUMA PASEKNGAVIT
Paseknga Lodge, Eclectic American Neo-paganism