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
    culture."

        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
    Green movement.

        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
         that primitive."

        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
    Pacoima