Allen on Earth Day

The esteemed and recommended Dangerous Minds site posted this one, a week or so back, Circuit Earth, a 1970 documentary, “with Ralph Lapp, Paul Ehrlich, (the) Broadway cast of Hair, Allen Ginsberg, Redbone, George Wald, Edmund Muskie, Jerry Rubin, Alan Watts, The Black Butterfly, Ed Sanders, and Community Groups and Citizens of Philadelphia”.

As they note, “filmed in Philadelphia during the first Earth Day in April of 1970, Circuit Earth is a fascinating glimpse at the roots of the ecology movement and a sad reminder of how little things have changed when it comes to man’s relationship to our planet in the 42 years since the film was made [45 now – sic]”

We re-post it today (Earth Day) for your meditation/rumination/consideration.

Ed Sanders’ reading (at approximately 33 minutes in – to 37 minutes in) is one highlight – Allen too, of course (his message, the message, hasn’t dated) another – but the whole thing is of a piece (and certainly should be viewed as a piece), with its rambling (actually, not rambling) multi-perspectives.

Allen’s contribution is three-fold. Firstly, approximately ten-and-a-half minutes in, a bulletin from Cherry Valley – “The history of our consumption is, where I live, (up) in New York State, (there) was a giant hemlock forest in the 19th Century. New York City sucked up all those trees to make charcoal for heating New York, and the bark was used for tanning. As a result, there’s nothing but fifth-growth shrub trees now, and some pines, and a few old maples and oaks, but the giant hemlocks have disappeared – all that to feed the city, the creature comfort of the city, that is charcoal from burning wood, charcoal for heating. And, simultaneously, as the trees were cut down, so were all the animals killed and trapped for their skins (and the barks of the trees were used to tan the skins, so that the sentient living beings, like the trees and the animals, are both sucked up, shipped to Europe, or worn in coonskin caps!

His second sound-byte (about twenty-two minutes in) – “So, just as a junkie, when he’s addicted, has a physiological change throughout his body so that each cell in the body is dependent upon the addition of junk to keep him in any kind of state of painlessness, so the entire American consumer population is hooked on what you might call an oil-burner habit to sustain his daily life cycle. We’re injecting, in the United States.. we’re injecting..into the political..the body politic is a metabolism of the body politic… billions of gallons of oil, millions of volts of electricity, that run automobiles, that run the households, that keep us up all night, that maintain the communication networks, the television and radio. Every family is completely dependent on the services provided by electronics and by consumption of raw materials. We consume sixty per cent of the world’s raw materials with something like three or six per cent of the population, which means that we’ve got an enormous.. an enormous monkey on our back, like an electronic monkey, a raw materials monkey, and we’ve been so conditioned, over the last thirty years at least, to be dependent on that raw material monkey, that if it were removed now, it would be like removing junk from a junkie (and you can’t remove junk from a junkie, without him going kicking and screaming, like a psychotic state of need, and sometimes heart-attack, sometimes suicide..”

The third appearance (thirty-seven minutes in, following Ed Sanders) has him reading his recently-composed “Friday the Thirteenth”
“What prayer restores freshness to eastern meadow, soil to cindered acres, hemlock to rusty hillside,
transparancy to Passaic streambed. Blue whale multitudes to coral gulfs….?
Earth pollution identical with Mind pollution, consciousness Pollution identical with filthy sky.”

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