The name, “Circuit Earth, “ is drawn from a documentary film that I produced in 1971 with a four friends to commemorate the first Earth Day in Philadelphia. This 16mm film documented Earth Day speakers, which included a number of counterculture figures such as Alan Watts, Allen Ginsburg, and Ed Sanders, as well as scientists such as Ralph Lapp, Paul Ehrlich, and Nobel Prize winner George Wald. In addition to these celebrities, the film also included art performances and interviews with ordinary people from Philadelphia communities to connect their concerns with the environmental issues that were highlighted in the Earth Day event.
The idea behind “Circuit Earth” was to draw connections between concern for the environment and spiritual impoverishment manifested by war, overpopulation, mindless consumption, and drug addiction.
This “underground” documentary raised issues that are now in the mainstream, including the impact of warfare, climate change, and population growth on the environment. It focused on concerns that are as true today as they were then, such as the dependence on fossil fuels, which is at the core of the energy debate today.
Although now a period piece, the Circuit Earth film anticipated the need for a holistic and global approach to the environment that requires an informed citizenry as well as knowledge-based political leadership.
Circuit Earth underscores the global nature of technology and the environment, and the complex interaction of natural and human systems.