Today, April 22nd, is Earth Day. This day was first observed in 1970, and is recognized as the beginning of the modern environmental movement. During this period in our history the country was deeply involved in Vietnam. The American public was focused on the anti-war protests occurring nationwide, but under the radar was a growing awareness of environmental pollution.
The first ripple of public awareness for the environment became evident with the publication of Silent Spring in 1962. This New York Times Bestseller brought to light the watershed movement. It was purchased worldwide and over half a million copies were sold in the U.S. However, it wasn’t until 1969 with the tragedy of the Santa Barbra, CA oil spill for the wave of environmental outcry to manifest.
Wisconsin Senator, Gaylord Nelson, recognized that the time for change was ripening. He was inspired by the energy that motivated the student anti-war movement. That energy, coupled with growing public awareness for pollution was the recipe necessary to put environmental protection in the forefront of the American political agenda.
Mr. Nelson was able to utilize his resources, and a national team was assembled with the task of organizing a rally on April 22nd, 1970. Thousands of Americans joined the cause and small groups that had been previously fighting for environmental change joined as the voice of the people was heard nationwide. This was the first Earth Day. It was a tremendous success, and a launching point for change in environmental practices.
Now, over 40 years later, the fight continues for a cleaner environment. Everyone can make a difference, how are you celebrating Earth Day?
To learn more about how we are making a positive contribution to our environment visit Environmental Sustainability