Easy Rider/ Kyle Cross
One of the outcomes of the 60’s counterculture movement was an increase in environmental awareness. There were a couple of references to this in the film this week. Easy Rider portrayed a farmer as one that provides for himself and doesn’t rely on the establishment for food. He works in harmony with and not against nature. At the commune, residents and guests benefit from the localized production of agriculture in order to sustain their community. These ideas weren’t so revolutionary at the time because they were practical. So, it seems unfair to the primitive cultures and the hippies that established these practices to claim today, that organic farming and co-ops are revolutionary ideas because they have been around forever. Wyatt and Billy also camped out every night which in turn helped them maintain a connection with the environment, which was very important to the counterculture. However, I wonder what hippies still alive today think of our society? Environmental awareness is at an all time high, but so is environmental exploitation. Our society is more affluent than ever and more technologically advanced. Pure hippies, which there are very few left of would obviously have to question the contradiction our society imposes. How can such an affluent society that is so consumed and reliant on technology claim to be environmentally aware? I believe our society would be the hippies’ worst nightmare. They valued environmental activism, detested technology and based sound environmental practices on those of Native Americans (Miller 109). The counterculture’s influence did create some of the first environmental interest groups when the idea that the future of the environment was in danger was an oddity (Miller 109). Today, there are more interest groups than ever and the power is more spread out than ever, but nonetheless The Sierra Club is an example of a very influential group that has its roots firmly set in this movement. Still, the government controls the final say in the implementation of environmental policies, which is heavily influenced by big business, exactly what the hippies were against. So, even relevant today, one main reason that the counterculture’s presence in society faded is still present in those trying carry out their environmental goals, the underestimation of the establishment and its power.