Earth Day is the anniversary of the modern environmental movement that began in the 1970s. Before ecological awareness the American people were ignorant of the consequences that came from pollution “industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity”. In mainstream America the environment was not a hot topic, although Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring published in 1962 changed that. Today Carson’s book is considered the reason for putting into action the America modern environmental movement by raising concern for public health and living organisms.
The first Earth Day was in 1970 and the idea came from U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson after he had seen the devastation left in Santa Barbra, California, by the massive oil spill of 1969. Earth day was driven by the political activism of the seventies and Senator Nelson was joined by a staff of 85 people to promote environmental awareness events. Nelson stated in the Environmental Protection Agency journal (EPA),
“Earth Day 1970 made it clear that we could summon the public support, the energy, and commitment to save our environment. And while the struggle is far from over, we have made substantial progress. In the ten years since 1970 much of the basic legislation needed to protect the environment has been enacted into law.”
By the 1990s Earth Day awareness had gone global. Earth Day helped to pass many acts including the Endangered Species Acts, the clean air and clean water acts, toxic substance control act, and National Environmental Policy. Senator Nelson was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton for his and his staff’s efforts to preserve our earth. Today earth day’s focus is on global warming and clean energy. The earth day movement invites you “To be a part of Earth Day and help write many more victories and successes into our history.”