Vintage Chamber of Commerce on Earth Day

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Check out this vintage clip of a 1970 CBS Evening News special on Earth Day, hosted by Walter Cronkite. There are several slices of awesome here. First, there’s the song about sulfur dioxide. But more interesting is the debate among environmental activists about whether to ally themselves with the Chamber of Commerce in publicizing Earth Day.

“Would we be co-opted by business?” asked Edward Furia, Philadelphia’s Earth Week director. “Would we not be diluting our effort completely?” The group held three days of meetings to decide whether to even meet with the Chamber of Commerce; in the end they accepted financial support from the Chamber for their activities, and agreed to call off direct actions against industries. In return, the Chamber called off counter attacks and encouraged members to acknowledge their pollution and discuss clean up efforts.

Here’s the clip:

The video is even more amusing in light of this week’s 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Senators are expected to unveil a climate bill shortly afterwards, and the authors and the White House been heavily courting the national Chamber of Commerce to support the measure, after the group waged high-profile opposition against the House bill last summer. Top Obama administration officials are meeting with Tom Donohue, the president and CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce, tomorrow. From Energy & Environment News:

Senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and Carol Browner, Obama’s top staffer on energy and climate issues, invited Donohue to the White House as part of its ongoing courtship of the nation’s largest industry voice. In February, Obama and Donohue exchanged public letters suggesting they could work together on expanding nuclear power and increased drilling for offshore oil.

Some things never change, do they?

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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