April 22, 2020
Earth Day is a day people worldwide engage in conversation and action about protecting the planet. Today, on Earth Day 50, that conversation is a virtual one due to the Covid-19 outbreak, but so important as we’ve seen the clearing of the air, literally, since less people have been moving about in their cars, less planes have been flying, and less factories worldwide have been pumping out deadly emissions. However, refreshing on the one hand, it is not a sustainable situation and we will see things ramp up again with all of the challenges that will mean for the protection of the planet. So, what can we do? Be conscious about the habits that we once took for granted such as driving two blocks to pick up a prescription rather than walking and keep some of what we have learned during this time about embracing the outdoors and nature in our daily lives for the betterment of the planet and for each of us. At Eco News Network we’d like to check back in with the origin of Earth Day Let’s keep the Earth Day Every Day spirit and embrace Mother Nature today as we celebrate her wonder and ponder how to best protect her for our future generations.
A Little Earth Day History
During the 1960s, a environmentalists and scientists voiced a concern for the problems of the planet. Pesticides at the time were a huge problem along with air and water pollution that the public accepted as the normal price of progress.
The publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962 was a catalyst for the environmental movement. The book sold more than 500,000 copies and raised public awareness and concern for the health of the environment.
Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson had been mounting pressure on government officials to pay more attention to the issues facing the environment after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. He even convinced President Kennedy to go on a conservation tour. President Kennedy became vocal on environmental issues however this was not enough to create real action.
Nelson observed the power of the war protests at many college campuses across the US and he wanted to enact the same type of passion but for the environment. To accomplish that, Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” and convinced Pete McCloskey, a conservation Republican Congressman, to serve as co-chair. The two also recruited Denis Hayes as national coordinator.
On April 22, 1970 and the first Earth Day was launched with the support of 20 million participants and thousands of communities and schools, as well as rallies and demonstrations nationwide for a healthy sustainable environment. In 1990, Earth Day went global with the help of Hayes and over 200 million people in 141 countries and environmental issues became front and center on the world stage.
Earth Day 50
Earth Day Network, the organization that leads Earth Day worldwide, is running Earth Day programs live all day long from around the world and I encourage you to tune in, even if just for one session. And maybe those shared ideas will plant a seed for you to cultivate as this crisis continues.
Even though virtual, we can still protest the abuse of the planet, study, learn, and share information around environmental issues, and be informed about what we can do to help save our earth. You can learn even more about the history and upcoming Earth Day events at www.earthday.org.
So how are you celebrating Earth Day 50 in this time of social distancing? If all you do is sit peacefully in nature and absorb what’s around you that might be enough on this Earth Day 50.
First Earth Day in NYC – Courtesy of Earthday.org