Ever wonder when and why Earth Day started?
Earth Day has been celebrated for over forty years now. It originally started in 1970, which some consider it to be the start of the modern environmental movement, reports Earth Day Network.
1970 was a monumental year: Jimi Hendrix died, the last Beatles album was made and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was released. Students were unhappy with the way the world was going and they were able to finding their voices. Protests were popular and though they originally were aimed towards the increasingly opposed war in Vietnam, eventually students began to express their anxieties over the way the environment was being treated.
At the time, no one really knew about air pollution nor did they really speak about the environment; it was common for everyone to be driving monster-sized V8 sedans that loved to guzzle up gas.
But Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller “Silent Spring” helped change everything. Her booked brought awareness to living organisms, the environment and public health. “Silent Spring” sold 500,000 copies in twenty-four countries!
The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 was a mix between anti-war protest and making environmental concerns known.
The idea of Earth Day resulted from an oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. United States Wisconsin Senator, Gaylord Nelson, was inspired by students in the anti-war movement and realized that it would also be possible to also ignite awareness for the environment if people were able to bring such great attention to the opposed war. It worked.
On the first Earth Day, 20 million Americans went out into the streets to enlighten the world about their Earth and protested the pollution of their environment.
As a result, the U.S government passed the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
“It was a gamble,” Nelson recalled, “but it worked.”
Take a look at a video from the first Earth Day: