by E&E Legal Senior Policy Fellow and Junkscience.com Founder Steve Milloy
As appearing in The Daily Caller
The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970. At the time, our environment was somewhat of a mess — too often featuring thick urban smog, burning rivers and lakes, unmanaged and leaking waste dumps and other unsafe or unpleasant environmental conditions. But it is no longer 1970. It’s time to move on as we no longer pollute the environment so much as we pollute our children’s minds about the environment.
In 1970, much of our air, water and land was certainly not as clean as it could have been. It was the product of a post-World War II economic boom based on smokestack industries which, by the way, had given us the highest standard of living the world had ever seen.
Looking past the left-wing politics of the Earth Day’s organizers, 1970 was the right time to make a concerted effort to clean things up. And we did. Many at the time were genuinely concerned about the potential effect of chemicals and emissions on human health. And we began to do scientific research.
By the time I started working on environmental issues in 1990, some 20 years after the first Earth Day, the clean-up and research missions had largely been accomplished. The air and water were clean. Messy industrial waste sites were being cleaned up. Chemical and pesticide use was appropriately regulated. Much scientific research had fortunately revealed there was nothing to be concerned about human health-wise from the low-levels of chemicals found in the environment. And industries had already begun to combat the problem of costly and senseless overregulation.