Happy Earth… Day?
Good morning world, it’s Earth Day. But just what the hell does that mean and how did it all get started? The idea for a national day to focus on everything “environment” was conceived by Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson (not a made up name, but a great alias if you need one). As a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, Nelson witnessed the devastation from a 1969 oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, CA. Old Gaylord realized that if he could stir the same emotional feelings for air and water that people had devoted to the anti-war movement, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. He did.
A year later, on April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast to coast rallies. Earth day 1970 was a huge success and managed to unite Democrats and Republicans, rich and poor, black and white, dogs and cats, Muslims and Jews, Nerds and Jocks, people who can’t agree on the proper direction to hang the toilet paper. You get the idea. By the end of 1970, 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.
We can all agree that Earth Day kicks ass. But why does the Earth only get a day when we all use it everyday? Why not a whole month, or better yet, the whole year? Why do I have to fight through an entire month of NFL players wearing pink socks but not an entire month of environmentally conscious programming on television? Earth doesn’t even get a day all to itself. Did you know April 22 is also National Jelly Bean Day? Jelly Bean day?!?
So come on guys, treat every day like Earth Day. We only get one Earth, and it’s precious. If Hollywood movies have taught me anything, it’s that every alien in the galaxy wants it. So plant a tree, recycle some garbage, adopt a pet, give to an environmental charity, but try to leave Earth better than it was when you got here, not worse.
*much of the information for this article was stolen straight from “The History of Earth Day” at www.earthday.org