Earth Day does not seem to have much to do anymore with a desire for cleaner air, land or water but instead with promoting a left-leaning political ideology. Since the first Earth Day in 1970, America has made much progress in cleaning up the environment. The air and water in the nation today is much cleaner than when the Cuyahoga River caught on fire on June 22, 1969, and major American cities such as Los Angles were frequently engulfed in smog in the 1970s. According to this recent article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, there are now more than three dozen species of fish found in the Cuyahoga River. Los Angles in the 1970s typically issued smog alerts for almost one-third of the days in the year. Today smog alerts in Los Angles are fairly rare.

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Environmental groups that rely on voluntary contributions for funding recognize that it is good business for them to have environmental crises. With the progress that has been made during last 50 years in cleaning up the environment, it has becoming increasingly difficult for environmental groups to get Americans excited about the traditional issues of clean air and clean water. The focus has now shifted to energy and global warming. The global warming issue lends itself well to those with a progressive political view who maintain that global warming knows no national boundaries and the solution must be top down and mandated by world governments. In their view, individuals cannot be trusted to do the right thing but must be compelled by the force of government to act responsibly. As is common with progressive ideology, the elite know better than the people.

Current Earth Day activities have become mostly symbolic and often rather silly. Preying upon guilt for enjoying a middle-class lifestyle results in school children making posters extolling the virtues of recycling and installing light bulbs that look like curly fries. The world is still faced with serious environmental challenges such as many people still not having access to clean drinking water and sanitary sewer systems. Maybe it is time to replace the now symbolic Earth Day with something more meaningful.