Happy birthday, Earth!

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On April 22 more than 500 million people around the world celebrated, as they do every year. There were ceremonies, proclamations, and news stories. There were donations and gifts. There were acts of service. Our schools devoted whole portions of the curriculum to this birthday.

For years our schools have sent home little banks with our elementary kids to collect donations for the Nature Conservancy or one of its numerous shell organizations.

Who are we celebrating? It’s Mother Earth, of course, because it’s Earth Day! Even the United Nations declares April 22 as International Mother Earth Day.

Have you ever looked into Earth Day, though, and wondered what the celebration is really all about? Most of us grew up with Earth Day, and think it is a wonderful idea. I was in third grade when it all started.

The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970, and it was organized by two committed environmentalists, Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson and Stanford University professor Paul Ehrlich.

Who are these guys, and why did they create this celebration? Well, let’s see. Gaylord Nelson said in his book “Beyond Earth Day: Fulfilling the Promise,” “The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around.” What does that sound like? I’ll get to that in a minute.

Paul Ehrlich is famous (or infamous) for his 1968 book “The Population Bomb” in which he predicted huge death tolls within a decade from material shortages and rape of the environment due to overpopulation.

Both Nelson and Ehrlich advocated population control and environmentalism for saving humanity and the Earth. A critical component of this agenda is the reduction and eventual elimination of private property.

It is considered unfair that some people have property and others don’t, and unequal if a few people have a lot, while everyone else has little by comparison.

It is impossible to manage the environment unless we all collectively (publicly) own the land instead of individuals. So in the name of protecting endangered species, clean water and air, and climate change, private property must end.

Nelson and Ehrlich were socialists.

Mainstream environmentalism has never been about just conservation, but it has always been a cover for totalitarian government control and the restriction and end of private property.

The Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements from the U.N. cited unacceptable living conditions for “vast numbers of people … as a result of … inequitable economic growth … between countries and between [individual] human beings, … ecological and environmental deterioration, … and the increasing degradation of life-supporting resources of air, water, and land.”

The establishment of “a just and equitable world economic order” require “necessary changes.”

And what might these changes be? They are many.

Crucial to this plan is changing private property. The Vancouver Action Plan states that “Land, because of its unique nature … cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth [meaning “inequality”] and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes. Social justice, urban renewal and development, the provision of decent dwellings-and healthy conditions for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the interests of society as a whole.”

It’s not just the greedy corporate CEO that is the obstacle to social justice. It’s you owning your own home, and having the right to do whatever you want on your own property. You are the perpetuator of inequality and injustice.

This declaration eventually gave rise to a movement called sustainable development and a whole plan called Agenda 21. Look for it in a neighborhood near you. Governor Deal already signed it into law in a previous legislative session.

When I was in college I spent most of the summer of 1983 in the first country to set aside all forests, waters, and minerals as national property.

Billions of acres were nature preserves that were off limits to humans even for hunting and fishing. For nearly a century they had mandatory days for cleaning the streets, fixing public parks, recycling, planting trees, and other community service, long before there ever was an Earth Day.

The country’s founder personally participated in these days of community service, and the world cheered.

You never heard about this environmentally friendly country? Of course you have! It was the Soviet Union.

Vladimir I. Lenin, the founder, said in his book “On the National Pride of the Great Russians” (I bought many of his books while I was there) that we must use “every revolutionary means to combat … the landowners and capitalists … the worst enemies of our country.”

Among those “every revolutionary means” … wait for it … environmentalism. Environmentalism is a classic tool of socialism.

And those days of service to the environment in the Soviet Union — they happened every year on Lenin’s birthday, which is April 22nd.

The first Earth Day was on Lenin’s 100th birthday. Coincidence? Who knows?

So, Happy Earth Day. Oh, and Happy Birthday, Vlad!

[David Richardson of Peachtree City coordinates the Assumptions Project. He has a Master of Theology degree from Oxford University and is a recognized expert on the religious attitudes and beliefs of university professors. He, his wife, and his children have lived in Fayette County for over 22 years.]