In 1962, bestseller “Silent Spring,” written by Rachel Carson, brought attention to the dangers of pesticides on America’s countryside.
In 1969, a fire on Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River shed light on chemical waste disposal.
For the most part, in the early 60’s, activists were not devoted to large scale issues. Giant gas guzzling cars were a sign of prosperity. Few people even considered recycling.
Then in the fall of 1969, a Wisconsin senator announced the concept of an “Earth Day” at a national conference, and so the seed was planted and people ran with it. According to Senator Nelson, “Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. We had neither the time nor the resources to organize 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of school and local communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day. It organized itself.”
In April of 1970, the first Earth Day was celebrated. According to the EPA public opinion polls, a permanent change in national priorities followed that first Earth Day. When polled in May of 1971, 25% of the U.S. public declared protecting the environment to be an important goal.
The 70’s brought big changes with the Clean Air Act, Water Quality Improvement Act, Endangered Species Act, Toxic Substances Control Act, Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act and, in December of 1970, the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency whose sole task was to protect human health and safeguard the national environment – air, water and land.
So, while you are out and about enjoying your day, take in the beauty this planet has to offer. The green grass, the beautiful trees, the spring flowers in bloom. Give a shout out to Mother Earth and all she has provided you!
Happy Earth Day, friends! Stay safe. Stay well. Remember: we isolate now so that when we gather again, no one is missing.