Posted by: JanF | April 22, 2014

An Earth Day Wake-up Call

It has been depressing lately, reading about the penny-wise pound-foolish despoiling of our earth for short term profits and jobs that will disappear in a few years. West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin … the list goes on. Maybe we need an Earth Day wake-up call to remind us of what is important.

Back when Wisconsin was known for progressive politics and good government, Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI) spoke of the Santa Barbara oil spill that had occurred in 1969 and awakened people from their complacency about our environment. He called for a teach-in and that eventually resulted in the establishment of Earth Day in April 1970.

This was Gaylord Nelson’s hope:

“a nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake the political establishment out of its lethargy and, finally, force this issue permanently onto the national political agenda.”

We are still struggling to make the environment, and climate change, important enough to be part of the national political agenda … not just on Earth Day but every day.

A reminder:

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.

~

Links to Earth Day information and activities:
Gaylord Nelson and Earth Day – The making of the modern environmental movement

Nelson’s decision to leave Earth Day to the grassroots proved genius. Exceeding their wildest expectations, Nelson and his staff estimated 20 million Americans—from 10,000 elementary and high schools, 2,000 colleges, and over 1,000 communities—took action on April 22, 1970. Though students lent the day a unique spirit, it did not draw out only the young. Labor union members, housewives, farmers, scientists, and politicians of all stripes—from Barry Goldwater to Edward Kennedy—made up the mosaic of faces in Earth Day crowds.

Throughout his life Nelson remained modest about his own contribution but was extremely proud of the nation’s response:

“Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. We had neither the time not the resources to organize the 20 million demonstrators who participated from thousands of schools and local communities. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day. It organized itself.”

– Earth Day Network: It’s Earth Day!

Today is Earth Day! Over one billion people in 192 countries are participating from London to Sao Paolo, Seoul to Babylon City, New Delhi to New York, Rome to Cairo; people everywhere are taking action in their communities and helping depict The Face of Climate Change.

How can you get involved? Attend an Earth Day event in your community, start doing something to lower your carbon footprint, and take a photo of yourself being part of the solution and upload it to The Face of Climate Change Wall.

– U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Make Every Day Earth Day
(includes interactive map to locations for events and activities.

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