More and more, radical activists are using Americans’ dinner plates as launching pads for their agendas. So it should surprise no one that this Thursday’s annual Earth Day affair is shaping up to be quite a culinary circus. Food scare artisans, animal liberation radicals, and organic food pushers are gathering under the Earth Day big top to peddle their pet causes. Consumers beware: their antics and dire warnings should be viewed for entertainment purposes only.

The Consumers Union of the United States is affixing the Earth Day brand name to its ongoing campaign to promote organic-only eating. The group’s “Eco-labels” website, designed to encourage food label-clutter, was funded in part by a grant from Ted Turner. His Turner Foundation has given generously to food fear-mongers including the Organic Consumers Association, Greenpeace, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Consumers Union also received $300,000 for its Eco-labels project from the Ford Foundation, another notorious green grant-making machine. Ford has given over $2 million (each) to Friends of the Earth and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is staking out its own ring in the Earth Day circus, with plans to distribute veggie burgers outside of Burger King restaurants. PETA’s press releases claim vegetarianism can “save the Earth and all its inhabitants.” Well, maybe not all inhabitants. PETA president Ingrid Newkirk has stated her disdain for human beings quite clearly: “Humans have grown like a cancer. We’re the biggest blight on the face of the Earth.” And fake meat isn’t the only thing PETA wants flame-broiled. This is the same group that bankrolled animal rights arsonist Rodney Coronado, and whose Vegetarian Campaign Director declared: “I think it would be great if all of the fast-food outlets, slaughterhouses, these laboratories, and the banks that fund them exploded tomorrow.”

And what’s an eco-celebration without a signature feast? Earlier this month, Organic Valley Farms marketing director Theresa Marquez announced the creation of “Earth Dinner” — an attempt to turn Earth Day into a “new holiday tradition.” Sponsors of Earth Dinner include the scaremongering Environmental Working Group (EWG), as well as professional ambulance chaser Robert Kennedy Jr. and his Waterkeeper Alliance. Marquez claims this green quasi-Thanksgiving is meant to “emphasize community over commerce,” conveniently omitting her own profit motive. As a featured speaker at the 2002 Waterkeeper “Sustainable Hog Farming Summit,” Marquez confronted organic food’s high-cost/low-return dilemma by declaring: “We think it’s important that people pay more for food … The question is: ‘Will consumers pay more for that?’ and ‘How can we convince them to do that?'”

Animal liberation and overpriced food? Radicals using Earth Day to market their food utopias makes an entertaining show, but it’s one worth skipping.