Earth Day 2021 and the consequences of trying to fool Mother Nature

Gary G. Kohls, MD

“Only when the last tree has died, the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.” – Cree Indian Proverb

“Oh Beautiful for smoggy skies, insecticided grain,
For strip-mined mountain’s majesty above the asphalt plain.
America, America, man sheds his waste on thee,
And hides the pines with billboard signs, from sea to oily sea.” ~ George Carlin

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” ~ Native American Proverb “Always drink upstream from the herd.” – from “A Cowboy’s Guide to Life”­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

Thursday, April 22, is the 51st anniversary of Earth Day in the United States. April 22 is that 1/365th fraction of a year when the compassionate, thinking and scientifically-grounded activists (who understand, revere and respect Mother Earth and are therefore not inclined to rape her) are momentarily allowed to have a chance to publicly appeal to the for-profit polluters in the corporate ruling elite/investor classes. The Pentagon, by the way, is the biggest polluter on the planet.

The fading hope of the activists, of course, is that the ruling classes that have the money, power and propaganda machine that could change things for the better will finally listen to reason: ie, that the rapidly-accelerating environmental degradation that is degrading the earth and its creatures must be taken seriously.

April 22, 2021 is International Mother Earth Day.

In 2009 the General Assembly of the United Nations, recognizing the likely irreversible tipping point of global air, water and soil degradation, designated April 22 of every subsequent year as International Mother Earth Day. The designation was approved unanimously, even by the delegates from the United States, the nation that coddles some of the biggest corporate polluters on earth. (America’s 4% of the world’s population uses up and throws away 30% of the world’s resources.”

The UN leaders said “We are strangling the planet -– strangling ourselves.” They indicated that the world has been held captive for too many years by the seductive notion of predatory capitalism.

“We don’t own the planet, we belong to it, and we must put people and the well-being of the planet at the centre of our attention and recognize good stewardship of the planet and our dwindling resources as a shared responsibility.”

“It is only right that we, as sisters and brothers, take care of Mother Earth. Mother Earth, after all sustains our very humanity.”

The Earth Day leadership urges listening to the voices of indigenous people, small farmers and local, non-corporate food producers, who, with their sustainable, organic farming methods, could provide healthy food, while at the same time focusing on the predatory global trade policies the of multinational corporations  “Our decision today marks one more symbolic step in changing the dominant mindset that has brought us so close to self-destruction.”

“When people do whatever they want to do, you get Woodstock. When governments do whatever they want to do, you get Auschwitz” – from Doug Newman’s The Fountain of Truth:

Enlarging on Newman’s metaphor, I would add that when good people do whatever they want to do you get sustainable living, but when ruthless, greedy and remorseless (and, therefore, often criminal) industries do whatever they want you get the poisoning of the planet, like what happened at Nagasaki, Love Canal, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Fukashima, and the massive oil spills everywhere, especially most destructively in the Gulf of Mexico, courtesy of Exxon-Mobil/British Petroleum/Deepwater Horizon/Halliburton all of which have resulted in permanent ecologic disasters.

When virtually every exploitive multinational corporation does whatever it wants to (and then hightails it out of town when the resources are gone and only the toxic residue remains), the result is contaminated water, poisoned fish, floating islands of plastic debris, poisonous landfills that are leaking into the ground water.

And, particularly for those of us living in northeastern Minnesota, there are serious threats to the long-term health of the air, the soil and the water (ie, the lakes, rivers, marshes and wild rice beds) from the proven-to-be dangerous schemes of transnational sulfide mining corporations like Swiss-based Glencore/Polymet, Chile’s Antofagasta/Twin Metals that will inevitably add to the poisoned ground and surface water and various contaminated zones in our region’s waterways (especially the St. Louis river flowage) if such poisoning is allowed to occur.

For more on this issue, click on

And when the nuclear energy and the military-industrial complex does whatever it wants to do, one gets the unnecessary bombing of Nagasaki; the permanent contamination of nuclear weapons’ testing sites in Southwest U.S. and the many atolls in the Pacific Ocean that cruelly displaced indigenous psople; the masses of prematurely dead and dying civilian and Gulf War veterans, and the thousands of malformed babies, from the lethal “friendly fire” radiation poisoning from the hundreds of tons of American armor-piercing radioactive uranium (“DU”) weaponry that will continue to poison the desert sands – and the people – of Kuwait, Iraq and now Libya for millions of years to come.

And now, if there is such a thing as the Japanese Emperor “Hirohito’s revenge,” the radiation poisoning of us American and Western hemisphere “downwinders” across the Pacific of our food, water, air and animals from Fukushima, not to mention America’s acknowledgement that there is nowhere to safely put America’s radioactive nuclear waste.

I can think of no better way to close this Earth Day essay than with the lyrics of a powerful song written and performed by Joe Paulik, who is a truly back-to-nature environmental activist and folksinger (and, I am proud to say, friend of mine) who is based in Grand Marais, Minn. A portion of his powerful “Tree Preacher” are below. The 11-minute song powerfully exposes the “corporate rape” of Mother Earth. “Tree Preacher” is the title song from Joe’s 4th CD (2004). The album which has many other great songs, can be ordered Watch the video of Joe Paulik’s band singing the important Earth Day song at

Tree Preacher
Howl distant wind,
Make your presence felt and call from within,
Every woman man and child with a conscience
To join together and pray

Growl insistent wind
Flex your muscles raise your voice above the din,
‘Til every grown-up who has eyes that they can see with
Every person who has ears that they can hear with
And understands what you say

Take this seed home son and sow it.
Don’t burn your house down just to heat one meal.
Pack this in your pipe and smoke it.
You offer a loving gift
But they rape, beat and steal you blind.

And so I went to the city.
Seemed like one big accident.
All disarray; a pimp’s display on some big table.
Step right up, ignore the warnings on the labels....

We don’t know where to throw it.
In the food or down the drain; please explain.
Should I bury or explode it?
It’s impossible escaping the food chain....

“Hello, my name is Joe.
Won’t you tell me what your doing isn’t so?
I’m not sure if you’re a member of my species,
But if you quit this and just played with your own feces,
That would be far less obscene.”

He’s in hell but he don’t show it.
He’s all miracles from Halloween.
Just give him cells man he can grow it.
He’ll clone the unclonable.
He’ll patch all your genes.

I’m chokin’ on this smoke.
Heed this warning said the prophet or you’ll croak.
And when you’re dead you’ll have some really tough explaining,
Which in a sick way I guess might be entertaining,
Like when no one gets the joke.

Wish I could say I didn’t mean that;
I was just shootin’ the breeze.
When I need something I can scream at
For my therapy I preach to the trees.

Sayin’ howl raging wind,
Make your message felt and call from within,
Every person with a heart they’ve learned to follow,
Every child looking forward to tomorrow,
Join together and pray.

Growl raging wind,
You speak our language now: level, slash and spin,
‘Til every person who has ears, hears and listens
To every child who has eyes that tear and glisten
From their world torn away.

Then howl healing wind,
Make your presence felt and call from within,
Every man who has a heart that he can feel with,
Every woman blessed with hands that she can heal with,
To join together and pray.