On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans rallied for environmental consciousness. After the catastrophic 1969 oil spill in the Santa Barbara Channel, many groups fighting to protect our Earth from oil spills, toxic waste dumping and extinction of wildlife came together with a common goal – a healthy, sustainable environment. Earth Day was born.
But even at the height of an era we associate with hippies and Vietnam protests, the majority of Americans were oblivious of or apathetic towards environmental issues. Muscle cars guzzled absurd amounts of leaded fuel, manufacturers spewed toxic waste into our water and air, and landfill clogging plastic convenience items like disposable diapers and single use plastic bags exploded into popularity.
Gaylord Nelson, a United States Senator from Wisconsin, saw the passion in the anti-war protesters and knew that if he could fuel an environmental movement with that energy it would be a success. He came up with the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment”.
Senator Nelson teamed up with Pete McClosekey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, and Denis Hayes, an environmental activist, to promote environmental events across the country. The result, on April 22, 1970, was a rare alignment of liberals and conservatives, blue-collared workers and business tycons, rich and poor, to create the first Earth Day.
Forty-one years later, the Earth Day Network is still at the heart of environmental service and advocacy. Earth Day 2011’s theme is “A Billion Acts of Green“. This campaign inspires individual acts and organizational initiatives that further the goal of measurably reducing carbon emissions and supporting sustainability. The goal is to register one billion actions in advance of the global Earth Summit in Rio in 2012. Visit http://act.earthday.org to pledge your act of green!
For Earth Day events in the Los Angeles area, check out “Green Things to Do in Los Angeles – April 22-28, 2011“.
In honor of Earth Day 2011, EcoBuzz Los Angeles pledges to be an advocate for a healthy environment. In addition, EcoBuzz Los Angeles has partnered with Carbonfund.org to reduce what we can and offset what we can’t.
Share your acts of green below! Earth Day is Every Day and Every Day is Earth Day!