Yesterday was Earth Day.  I have vague, positive memories of Earth Day from elementary school.  My second grade class planted a tree (or more accurately, we watched as parent volunteers planted a tree for us).  In third grade there was a big Earth Day choir concert (just try getting the lyrics “We recycle, we don’t just throw it away.  We recycle, so we can use it once again some day.” out of your head).  There were countless other “nature walks” and school-wide assemblies. But, according to Jenna Ashley Robinson of the Pope Center for Higher Education, Earth Day has taken a different tone in recent years:

…Earth Day has been hijacked by climate change alarmists. The specter of global warming has overshadowed all other environmental goals, as alarmists issue dire warnings about catastrophic climate change and push for stringent regulation. Endangered species, rainforests and conservation, if present at all, have been largely absorbed under the global warming umbrella.

When Earth Day began in 1970, scientists were more concerned about global cooling than warming, and the focus was on direct, visible harms to the air, water and land. Earth Day was conceived by Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1969 after he saw the results of an oil spill off the coast of California at Santa Barbara. The event was intended to inspire awareness of and appreciation for all the aspects of Earth’s environment.

But in 2004, leaders in the environmental movement deemed global warming a “global crisis.” Analysts at the skeptical Heartland Institute, writing on their Global Warming Facts Web site, allege that activists chose the issue for reasons that had nothing to do with the environment. Rather, they wanted to “save their reputations, create an excuse for a full assault on businesses and capitalism, increase their influence over the Democrat Party, and fund their organizations in perpetuity.”

Read more here, including a description of Earth Day activities at the University of North Carolina.