Today is Earth Day.
Have you ever wondered how the whole Earth Day thing got started? I think it’s important to understand the origin of things. Earth day, as with a lot of things in life, started with one person who had one idea – “…to put the environment into the political limelight.” (Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day Founder)
Senator Nelson recalled the first seeds of Earth Day, in 1962. â€œThat year an idea occurred to me that was, I thought, something that would put the environment into the political spotlight once and for all.â€(Wilderness Society). A whopping 20 million American’s took part in the first Earth Day celebration on April 22, 1970 and it has been observed around the world since that time. Senator Nelson was an environmental maverick who made waves and championed change.
Forty-two years later, our environment has changed drastically, our population has grown exponentially and now more than ever we need to really consider and put into action changes that will allow up to slow down the damage we are doing to our environment.
To celebrate the 42nd Earth Day, Earth911.com is traveling back to the roots of the modern environmental movement. They have revamped their website with a groovy 70s vibe including features of the first Earth Day and where we are now. The Earth911 website is chock-full-0-info regarding Recycling and the latest news on green.
Earth911 has also shared some awesome facts with us to help us all get in the know:
Dig It: Earth Day Fast Facts
- âŽ¯ï£§ On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day. Today, more than 1 billion people participate in Earth Day, making it the largest civic observance in the world. (via Earth Day Network)
- âŽ¯ï£§ An estimated one in 10 Americans participated in the first Earth Day. (via NelsonEarthDay.net)
- âŽ¯ï£§ In December of 1970, President Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency byExecutive Order.
- âŽ¯ï£§ In 1943, air quality’s effect on human health was brought to national attention when the first recognized episodes of smog occurred in Los Angeles. Visibility reduced to three blocks, and Angelinos suffered from respiratory discomfort, nausea and vomiting. California went on to pass the first state air pollution law in 1947. (via California Environmental Protection Agency)
- âŽ¯ï£§ In 1965, 17 percent of Americans said cleaning up the air and water was as one of their top three political priorities; in 1970, that percentage skyrocketed to 53. (via NelsonEarthDay.net)
- âŽ¯ï£§ The U.S. recycling rate in 1970 was 6.6 percent, compared to a 34.1 percent in 2010. (via U.S. EPA)
- âŽ¯ï£§ Overall waste generation has nearly doubled since 1970, from 127.8 million tons to 249.9 million tons in 2010. (via U.S. EPA)
- âŽ¯ï£§ The Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) passed in 1976. Among other things, the law mandated that landfills be closely monitored and enacted America’s hazardous waste management program.
- âŽ¯ï£§ Paper and paperboard were the most-recycled materials in 1970 and still are today.
â€œEarth Day is tough, because there are so many ways you can talk about it or encourage people to participate. We really wanted to go back to our roots, to delve into what our work today is built upon. I’m excited that we could reinterpret the first Earth Day through a digital lens, and bring the passion and enthusiasm that made it such an exciting time to our readers today.â€ – Raquel Fagan, Vice President of Media & Partnerships, Earth911
â€œWhen we started designing this concept and writing the features, we really expected to see a sharp contrast between 1970 and today. But what was really surprising was to find that many things, especially the passion people feel for why we have to be better, is the same. â€ – Nate Lipka, Managing Editor, Earth911
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