We have a tendency to get used to the way things are and believe that they have always been this way. For instance, what year did you get a smartphone or log onto Facebook for the first time? Hard to remember, isn’t it?
Think about your first Earth Day. For some, the time before the first Earth Day in 1970 is a vague time before they were born. Others may remember the environmental problems that led to a national teach-in for the environment. If you don’t remember, checkout the websites below to learn more about the pollution in our air, water, and soil that were part of everyday life prior to 1970.
In the introduction to the children’s book Earth Day by Linda Lowery, former Senator and Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson wrote: “Who wants to breathe dirty air or swim in a polluted lake? I don’t, and I’m sure you don’t either. When I was a senator, I noticed that our country’s air, water, and soil were getting polluted. Plants and animals were dying. People around the United States were upset about this. They wanted to change things.”
The energy of 20 million people speaking up on the first Earth Day did change things. Take time to discover what the first Earth Day meant and the actions, large and small, that followed it. We have come a long way, but we certainly aren’t done as we continue to find and face new challenges to the environment. Remembering the past and noting the changes that have occurred help us understand our own actions and make better plans for the future.
Speaking of actions, there will be many Earth Day celebrations this week. Schools, clubs, churches, and civic organizations plan local events, such as work days, litter cleanups, and tree plantings. Find out what is going on in your community and get involved!
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