Monday, April 22 is Earth Day, and since its inception in 1970 interest in Earth Day has ebbed and flowed. The overall impact, however, remains strong.
Would you believe it was actually a politician who started it?
According to a history on www.earthday.org, “The idea came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, Calif. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media, persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair and recruited Denis Hayes as national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land.”
Twenty-million people came together and took to the streets to protest the deterioration of the environment and the prevalence of air, water and land pollution.
It seems like a remote possibility now, but in 1970, Earth Day activities brought both sides of the aisle together – Republicans and Democrats. It led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency – and then to the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Act. Many believe that the first Earth Day catalyzed and created an environmental movement that has morphed into today’s efforts on so many fronts.
Where are you from? A friend of mine now answers that question with a simple, yet profound statement. “I am an earthling.” While this may sound like a glib sci-fi answer, it actually does have meaning. Do we have any other place we can make our home right now? Is it right to hand to our children and grandchildren a world in deterioration? Are there things we can do here and now?
In 2010 the Earth Day Network organized a Billion Acts of Green; it met that one-billion goal in 2012. The website has lots of information and ideas for specific actions that will begin to make a difference. For more local information, check out our website at www.ecoactionpartners.org. If you have any interest in helping with our activities and projects that address energy, waste and local food systems, please contact us. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 970/728-1340.
And please, make a pledge, a Green Resolution, if you will to take action – whether small or large – to enhance this earth – on this Earth Day – and every day.