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Take Note: Evironmental anxiety; Ahead of the Dead

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Just in time for the 25th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22 comes a poster that purports to debunk "bogus environmental claims" about overpopulation, deforestation, and the efficacy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In bold green type, the poster proclaims: "The Earth is Fine. Save Yourself."

It is the work of Alan Caruba, a self-described veteran science and business writer and the founder of the National Anxiety Center in Maplewood, N.J.

He says scare tactics by environmental groups eager to raise funds and federal bureaucrats anxious to expand their regulatory power have turned young people into "green neurotics."

"We have a generation of children who are just frightened to death," he said in an interview.

His claims have found support among some environmental groups and science teachers who concede that environmental education, particularly in the elementary grades, is too often more about indoctrination than teaching science. (See Education Week, 6/16/93.)

In accordance with Mr. Caruba's world view, the poster tends to be filled with punchy rejoinders to environmental dogma. "Clean water is what comes out of the tap from one end of the nation to the other," one entry reads. "Enjoy it."

Students at the Missisquoi Valley Union High School in Swanton, Vt., will be able to take final exams and prepare for graduation without having to navigate the campsites and vans of devoted Deadheads.

The school board voted this month to move graduation from June 16 to June 9 to avoid the distractions sure to go along with a planned concert by the Grateful Dead. The veteran rock band is scheduled to take the stage June 15 on property adjacent to the school.

When the Grateful Dead played last summer at the same site, 80,000 people showed up. School officials said that devotees of the Dead began arriving in the rural community a week early and that by the day of the show the nearest parking spot was three miles away.

The officials had pushed to have the date of the concert changed but bowed to local pressure after promoters for the band threatened to take their show elsewhere. (See Education Week, 3/08/95.)

--Peter West & Lonnie Harp

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