Earth Day

Do you have your calendar marked? Earth Day is coming up on Sunday, April 22. The Earth Day network is a higher education environmental campaign and an international movement to promote a sustainable future for everyone.

The first Earth Day was on April 22, 1970 at the birth of the modern environmental movement. In that time, the United Sates was in dire need of the message to protect the environment. In the prosperous times, people were guzzling gas and creating waste with no awareness of the consequences. Nonetheless, the stage was set by Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962. The book sold 500,000 plus copes is 24 countries and began to raise awareness about environmental conservation, pollution and public health.

Gaylord Nelson founded the movement in the United States. He was a senator from Wisconsin who witnessed the ravages of the oil spill in Santa Barbra in 1969. He saw how strong anti-war feelings were at the time, and noticed an opportune time to get people educated about air and water pollution, and get these issues seen on a national level. He recruited Denis Hayes from Harvard to serve as the national coordinator who built a staff of 85 to promote events across the US. He found that April 22 would be a good day, between Spring Break and Final Exams.

The planning was very successful and on April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans participated in activities in streets, parks, and auditoriums to promote a sustainable environment in coast-to-coast rallies. Groups joined together on the local level to speak up against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, loss of natural habitats, wildlife extinction, and various other environmental issues they felt very strongly about and were facing.

This movement helped create a very extraordinary political alignment between groups of people who were opposed to environmental damage of all kinds. It snowballed into a large movement and gained recognition on the National level. Many different groups were highly supportive, Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city and country, tycoons and labor leaders were all on board with the message. It all led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency that created the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Acts, among others.

Ever since, Earth day has been bolstering efforts to protect the environment like recycling efforts. More recent efforts since 2000 have focused on global warming and clean energy initiatives. 2020 will be the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day. The Earth Day Network has ambitious goals for this anniversary and environmentalism in the 21st century.

Make sure to check in with your local schools, universities, and community organizations for Earth Day activities and volunteer opportunities near you. Many environmentally aware retailers and businesses and organizations create promotions and activities this time of year. There is certainly something you can do to take part in the celebration and action this week. It is a great chance to teach your kids about Earth Day and get them involved as well.

Earth Day is a great time to take part in outdoor activities as well. You can choose to plant some trees or bushes in your area, or to simply enjoy the great outdoors. The outdoors and spending time in nature have proven to be significantly good for your mental and physical health as well! So take the time to get grounded and get a little bit closer to nature this week. Don’t take for granted all the gifts we get from pure nature in our lives.

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