What Is Earth Day?
If your daily commute involves tossing fast food trash from your window and gassing the car behind you with your damaged muffler, you may ask yourself, “What is Earth Day?”
The idea of Earth Day began in 1962 as the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson. Troubled by the lack of political concern for the environment, he approached President John F. Kennedy about a national conservation tour. President Kennedy approved and began the tour in September of 1963, covering five states over a period of eleven days. The tour was the germination needed for public environmental awareness but it did not capture the attention of politicians.
In 1969, Senator Nelson noticed that organized anti-Vietnam war demonstrations were spreading across campuses. He could see that this kind of grassroots activism was gaining the attention of the political establishment. He conceived of a nationwide grassroots protest to save the environment by igniting public interest. He knew that if he could motivate the general public, the political leaders would take notice. His grassroots efforts were a success and in 1970, Earth Day reached fruition. Twenty million demonstrators, including schools and local communities participated.
The year 2010 marks forty years of observing Earth Day. Climate change, overpopulation, energy, endangered species, food safety and a global water crisis are all in the forefront of environmental concerns. Some of the core issues for Earth Day participants include climate change, conservation, biodiversity, energy, recycling, waste reduction and creating a green economy.
So, you gave up the littering and fixed your muffler and you want to do more? Get involved by joining the Earth Day campaign. Participate in rallies for climate change, promote action on campus or create awareness through the arts.