April 22, 2010

A Brief History of Earth Day. ~ Elleni Cladis {Videos of first Earth Day}

Just think, in our world today, terms like “eco-friendly,” “sustainability,” and “green living,” probably can be found in the mother of all dictionaries, The Oxford English Dictionary, because of our commitment to caring for the planet on which we live.

Issues such as carbon emissions, toxic waste eliminations and the loss of wilderness are regularly being brought to national and international attention.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with numerous other governmental and non-governmental organizations, brings awareness to environmental problems that need solving.  In short, we live in a world where environmental protection is accepted, encouraged, and supported.

If you haven’t heard, or if you’ve been living under a rock, “green is the new black.”

Imagine living in a world where no one cared about the environment.  Let me rephrase that:  imagine living in a world where people did care, but had no power against “The Man” (the government and big corporations), or where there were no local laws against pollution, toxic waste, exterminating wildlife, or where there wasn’t even a recycling bin.

How did “reduce, reuse, recycle” come to be a mantra for protecting our world?

Thank you Earth Day.

On April 22, 1970, Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. senator from Wisconsin, proposed the first nationwide protest “to shake up the political establishment and force this issue onto the national agenda.”  And on that day, 20 million Americans took to the streets to organize protests against the deterioration of the environment. What started out as a one-day rally turned into a national passion and there has been no turning back.

Thanks to millions of college students, schools, and communities coming together in a peaceful way for environmental reform, the world changed.  Now, across the globe, hundreds of millions of people celebrate Earth Day, Earth Week and all that they represent – and the numbers are growing every year.

On the 40th anniversary of this demonstration, it’s exciting to see how far we’ve come, yet sobering to see how far we actually have to go.  According to the coordinator of the original Earth Day, global issues concerning the world have changed – while we’ve begun to figure out the answers, the questions and issues are changing, and we have to come up with new answers.

Sadly, one of the biggest problems is convincing people that protecting the environment means much more than going to an Al Gore lecture about global warming.  While we’re getting away from the mindless and arrogant “super-size me” mentality, we still have a long way to go.

So, on this holiest of days in terms of celebrating the earth, people should do just that.

Celebrate the beauty of your planet.  Take ownership of it.  Take care of the earth as you would take care of your house.  Because this is our house.  We can’t keep messing it up.  Go for a walk, recycle something, plant a tree, adopt a highway…whatever floats your boat.  Appreciate how much it has to offer and realize we need to play our part to keep it clean and life-supporting for our children, and for our children’s children.  We must protect this house!

Check out some interesting videos below:

A dry as toast, yet informative clip on what Earth Day is and how it was started

A long, but funny because it’s from the 1970s with a TV reporter who fits just about every stereotype of a 1970s TV reporter clip of the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 in Miami

The trailer from last year’s Disney’s Earth – it gives you goosebumps

The trailer to this year’s Disney’s Oceans – premiering today!

The First Earth Day:

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