“Rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the nation’s campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam … a national day of observance of environmental problems … is being planned for next spring … when a nationwide environmental ‘teach-in’ … coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned.”
Gladwin Hill, The New York Times, Nov. 30, 1969
Thus Earth Day was launched on April 22, 1970 – 40 years ago this week. This is commonly recognized as the event that marks the anniversary of the modern environmental movement. This article is the first of a four part series reviewing the history of the enviornmental movement from the smokestack to green cleaning products.
Earth Day proved to be a successful grassroots movement because of many environmental atrocities that served to increase the awareness of many events, such as the suffocating blanket of smog covering greater Los Angeles; the atmospheric inversion that temporarily raised the death rate in Donora, PA (1948) by 400 percent; a London “fog” that killed 4,000 people over a four-day period (1952) Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River catching fire (1969); an 88.4% lead level found in our blood stream from atmospheric lead (1970); and even questions regarding if human beings were an endangered species, 20 million people participated in inaugural Earth Day activities around the United States! The official birthday of the United Stated Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) is December 2, 1970.
This year we will see concerned citizens of the planet come out in calling for action against global warming and a healthy, sustainable environment force through small acts such as using green cleaning products in the home and business. The Green Generation Global Day of Conversation expects over a billion people from 174 countries will participate in Earth Day 40 eco friendly events around the globe in the form of breakfasts, celebrations, parties, wine and food festivals, marathons, concerts, demonstrations of natural green cleaning solutions, even scuba diving contests. These are just some of the thousands of events that have been planned for this celebration, including those planned by Green Cleaning Products in Denver, Boulder, and Ft. Collins, Colorado.
The idea for Earth Day evolved over a period of years, in the 1960’s Senator Gaylord Nelson had been troubled that the state of our environment was simply a non-issue in the politics of the country. Although evidence of environmental degradation was appearing everywhere around the country it seemed that everyone noticed except the political establishment. Senator Nelson began with persuading President Kennedy to give visibility to this issue by going on a national conservation tour. Although the President completed a five-day, eleven-state conservation tour, politicians did not act. Senator Nelson, however, was confident that if the United States could tap into the environmental concerns of the general public and infuse the student anti-war energy of the time into the environmental cause, he could generate a demonstration that would force this issue onto the political agenda. It was a big gamble and it worked … because of a spontaneous response at the grassroots level. Senator Gaylord Nelson will long be remembered as the founder of the movement and received a Congressional Medal of Honor for his efforts. The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) wrote: “Historians may one day call 1970 the year of the environment–a turning point, a year when the quality of life [became] more than a phrase…
In 1970 Earth Day organized itself – as it continues to do. Today Earth Day has become one of the largest secular civic events in the world. Earth Day 40 is considered a pivotal opportunity for people, corporations, and governments to join together to create a global green economy. Green Cleaning Products LLC can help you green your home or business with eco friendly cleaning products and janitorial supplies. It is anticipated that this years coordinated efforts will be recognized by future generations as a turning point. The Green Generation Global Day of Conversation campaign is being coordinated and recorded by the Earth Day Network.