“The Earth is what we all have in common.”
Today is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. With hundreds of thousands of non-profit organizations, I have to admit I find myself focusing on people helping people and less on the environment. However, as the daughter of a recycler (my Dad was in the wastepaper recycling business for decades, starting in the 60s before there was an Earth Day) I have spent a lifetime being taught about the environment and ecology.
I must admit I was fascinated to learn that Earth Day began when Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin witnessed the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara and the subsequent protests that followed. Gaylord realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, he could force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment.”That first event was April 22nd, 1970.
That day over 20 million Americans 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. That first Earth Day led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.
In 1990, twenty years later, Senator Nelson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor given to civilians in the United States, for his role as Earth Day founder. Today is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day and historically over a billion people will volunteer each year, organize an event in their community, change a habit, launch a community garden, reach out to elected representatives, do something nice for the Earth and make a difference.
This year Earth Day organizers are inviting us to sign up for virtual events around the globe. So if you don’t get a chance to do something great for our planet here are some ways to join in some virtual events. In addition, Earth Day organizers have a list here of eleven ways you can help the earth during a pandemic.
Some of these are simple ways we can make our lives and our planets healthier such as; plant a garden or begin to compost, cleaning out and giving away your things and take a real inventory of what you have and what you need to eliminate waste.
When we all come together, as we are seeing our planet do right now in historic ways, we can make an enormous impact.
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