HAPPY EARTH DAY 2012!!
The history of Earth Day began in 1962 with an idea that germinated with then Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson who had always been passionate about environmental issues. He believed that the stabilization of the nation’s population was an important aspect of environmentalism. He traveled with President John Kennedy on the Conservation Tour in 1963 to try and promote the idea across the country, which was not as fruitful as they had hoped.
It took Nelson 6 years to bring Earth Day into play. After observing anti-war demonstrations, known as teach-ins, on college campuses across the nation, Nelson figured that he could use the same concept to showcase the environmental concerns of the general public, use the anti-war energy of that decade in context with the environmental cause and generate a demonstration that would open the eyes of the political world.
On April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day commenced with 20 million Americans who took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment and groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.
Nelson was overjoyed by the overwhelming public response to Earth Day. He has stated:
“Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. We had neither the time nor resources to organize 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day. It organized itself.”
Earth Day celebrations are held every year on April 22, with events in over 175 countries increasing awareness and appreciation of the Earth’s natural environment. If you’d like to participate in or volunteer for an event held in your US state, check out the United States Environmental Protection Agency events page.