Americans have been observing Earth Day since 1970, when some 20,000,000 Americans participated in a national “teach-in” proposed by Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-Wisconsin). Gaylord’s hope for Earth Day was to send a message to Washington that public opinion was solidly behind a bold political agenda on environmental problems.
In the decade following the first Earth Day, 28 pieces of environmental legislation were passed, including: the Clean Air Act, the Water Quality Improvement Act, the Water Pollution and Control Act Amendments, the Resource Recovery Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act!
At this moment in history, that is simply astounding!
Earth Day is a good day to pause and reflect on the state of our Big Blue Marble in Space; it is also a good day to celebrate with others or to make a lifestyle change, large or small.
In New Haven, Connecticut, where I live, Earth Day is the kick-off to a series of environmentally focused events. Here are just a few:
The New Haven Land Trust’s Long Wharf Nature Preserve Clean Up (tomorrow from 10 am - 1 pm).
The 8th Annual Rock to Rock Earth Day Ride (April 30); there is still time to join a team or support a rider (like me).
And, the entire month of May is Bike Month.
Whether or not we make it to an event, there are always changes we can implement in our daily lives to lessen our own carbon footprint.
Need some inspiration?
Check out IKEA's Sustainability Guide. Yes, the guide, with the tagline “A Healthier Planet Begins at Home,” does highlight IKEA’s line of sustainable products. But it also includes a number of useful tips for conserving energy in the home that do not require a purchase.
I shared some ideas of my own after the Paris Climate talks ended.
One of the easiest things you can do is eat your leftovers! Another is to leave your car at home and take a walk or a bike ride instead.
Mother’s Day is coming soon; the emails for sales and special offers are already hitting the inbox. While we make plans to honor the mothers in our lives, let’s not forget to honor the most important mother of all — Mother Earth.
Happy Earth Day!