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Jan Bigelow: 928.300.1699
Wally Reule: 928.301.5943
Earth Day is coming up! Check out the link at the end of the article to see all the Verde Valley Earth Day events.
Do you know how this celebration began?
In the late 60s and early 70s, air pollution caused by factories and car exhaust was considered the ‘smell’ of prosperity. Americans were pretty much oblivious to environmental concerns.
But people were reading Rachel Carson’s best-seller, Silent Spring, and by 1970, there was a small environmental movement, and people were becoming more aware of the links between pollution and public health.
The founder of Earth Day, Gaylord Nelson, was a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, and he was inspired to make changes after witnessing the ravages of a 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.
This was the same period of history that was energized by the student-led anti-war movement at the peak of the Vietnam war. He wanted to use that energy to create awareness about air and water pollution, and to force environmental protection onto the national public agenda.
Using his connections and building a large staff to organize and promote the event, the first Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970, when 20 million Americans took to the streets to demonstrate for a sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests. Separate groups that had already organized and been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories, raw sewage, pesticides, etc. realized they share common values and joined forces to create a powerful campaign.
Believe it or not, Earth Day 1970 was supported by both Republicans and Democrats, city and country dwellers, and even labor leaders.
By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
Each year, celebrations to increase awareness of environmental issues and to mark this event happen all over the country. Check out this link to see what is happening to honor Earth Day in the Verde Valley.