Every year on the 22nd of April the world celebrates Earth Day. More and more manifestations are taking place all over the world, people becoming more aware of the importance of preserving our planet, treating it well, ensuring a breathable future for our children. But what are Earth Day’s origins?
Back in 1970, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson had the idea of creating a special day in which people are reminded of the importance of our planet. He drew inspiration from the events of a Californian oil spill that he had witnessed in the previous year.
The Santa Barbara spill combined with the anti-war student movements made him want to fight for the Earth’s right to survive the generation of mass pollution.
Back in the 1970s, the United States were facing massive pollution. The enormous V8 sedans that the Americans were driving at the time needed gigantic amounts of gas. And the oil industry was more than happy to provide the citizens of the United States with oil.
They didn’t care very much of the environmental consequences of their industry; they only thought about the cold, hard cash that was rolling in every time an American fueled up his or her muscle car.
But Senator Nelson believed in the power of the people, especially in the young voices that were able to influence the media. So he persuaded Harvard’s Denis Hayes and Pete McCloskey, a Republican Congressman with very conservation-oriented beliefs to help him create an awareness day.
And because the time between final exams and Spring Break is the perfect moment to gather round students and talk to them about the environmental consequences of fossil fuel use, they announced that the 22nd of April will be dedicated to the Earth.
So, on that April day in 1970 over 20 million individuals rallied from cost to cost, protesting the destructive influence of the oil industry and raising awareness on the importance of keeping the Earth a safe, clean environment.
Thousands of college students gathered and fought against polluting factories, oil spills, raw sewage, power plants, pesticide, toxic dumps, wilderness loss, massive wildlife extinction, and freeways.
While more and more people gathered on the streets, the American people realized that they have a common goal that needs seeing, though. So they decided that the 22nd of April will become Earth Day and that every year they will try and remind themselves, the media, and the oil industry that the planet matters.
Earth Day’s origins are as inspiring as the celebration itself. They only prove to show that when you truly want something to happen, you can make it so.
Image source: Wikimedia