April 22 is Earth Day. I started wondering how the event got started and found my answers online at the Library of Congress.
According to the EPA Journal (April, 1980) Senator Gaylord Nelson, a Wisconsin Democrat and environmentalist, planned a peaceful nationwide demonstration on April 22, 1970 to show support for the environmental movement. Demonstrations were common then especially against the war in Vietnam but were not always peaceful. In his own words, Senator Gaylord in the EPA Journal article recalled that “2000 college and universities, 10,000 high schools, several thousand communities and over 20,000,000” people joined together in peaceful support of the environment. As a result, President Nixon, who initially had not expressed much interest in environmental legislation, submitted to Congress the Environmental Protection Agency plan in July 1970. It went into effect on December 2, 1970. The EPA's first director, William Ruckelshaus, a Republican, gathered his staff from more than a dozen federal agencies to create new air and water safety standards and to go after “Big Polluters”.
Within 10 years of its initiation, laws that we take for granted were enacted: the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act to name just a few.
Today, let's advocate for the Earth. Here are a few ideas.
Nature Scavenger Hunt – here's one list I found on the internet: http://scavenger-hunt.org/nature-photo-scavenger-hunt-list/
Take a hike, a walk or a jog and pick up some trash along the way (Wear gloves.) In Sweden this is called “plogging”.
Plant a native tree or native plants.
Make “seed balls” from water, seeds and shredded, and recycled paper. Here are the directions: https://buggyandbuddy.com/make-seed-balls-from-recycled-paper/
Walk around your home and garden, check for water leaks and fix them. Water is still precious, even in a season of lots of rain.
Gaylord Nelson said, “Our goal is not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures.” And in the words of Chief Seattle, “The earth does not belong to us. We belong to the earth.”
photo by Michelle Davis