The preceding generation appeared obsessed with materialism that conflicted, not only with the religion and ideals we had been brought upon but also with the lives and values of our grandparents. That earlier generation had created a sharp disconnect between people and the land that supports us. The 1960s-’70s youth culture was largely about repairing that fracture. Read on to uncover how hippie culture influenced ecology, environmentalism, and political reforms in the sixties!
Ecology And Hippie Culture: Political Reforms And More
The Context Behind Ecology And Hippies
First, it was World War II, that disrupted the earth. And then the Korean war took place. When people thought it was all over, Vietnam came along. Suddenly people were in yet another war, for which there was no justification except anti-Communist hysteria and a desire to help Charles de Gaulle keep a foothold in Indochina so that France would join NATO.
Young people were sick of it – naturally. Their entire childhood had revolved around a war in the background. They rebelled in just about every way possible short of taking up arms (and a few even did that). Clothing, hairstyles, music, sex, and drugs. Young people were done with doing what adults told them to. And part of that was going to church, sitting in neat rows singing hymns in unison about a 2000-year-old man-god whose message had been distorted for political purposes. Some hippies reconsidered their relationship with Christianity, concentrating on what Jesus said and ignoring all the rest. They became the “Jesus freaks.” Others abandoned it entirely, looking to Eastern religions that weren’t so prescriptive and conformist.
So Where Do Environmentalism And Ecology Come In?
The environmentalism went along with all the rest. You would not believe how polluted the air and water were at that time. The pictures of the New York and Los Angeles skylines were just horrifying. The Cuyahoga River literally caught fire, there was so much oil in the water. People got angry and persuaded Congress to pass the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.
Protecting Nature Became “Natural”
New Age systems, or people who are into these systems, typically are into the way of being one with nature. Be close to nature. Live in nature. Have a good body. Eat superfoods/ natural foods and do yoga etc. The New age systems do have a strong ecological component to it because of this being close to the nature part. Since going back to nature is one of the major components of the new-age systems, the ecology and emphasis on the environment is kind of naturally expected. New agers would shop from a farmers market rather than Walmart.
Hippie culture helped to end conscription and the Vietnam war. They alerted people, lost in the death spiral of consumerism, to the need to limit our consumption so that the world and all its people can survive. A great deal of how reformers of today, including the young who were part of the recent Climate Strike, see the world today has a change in the 1960s and ’70s. It wasn’t all dope, long hair, and stupid clothes.