While EVERYday at Wellfield is Earth Day, TODAY, April 22 is special. It marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. The original Earth Day in 1970 marked the true beginning of an emerging environmental consciousness, putting those efforts on the front page.
The original idea for a national day to focus on the environment came from Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, a former U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in 1969. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could combine that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, which had been growing since Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring was released in1962, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media; April 22 was selected, as it fell between Spring Break and Final Exams in most school systems.
On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans demonstrated their commitment for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. 20 years later, Earth Day went global as 200 million people in 141 countries participated in 1990. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It also prompted President Bill Clinton to award Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1995)—the highest honor given to civilians in the United States—for his role as Earth Day founder.
Today, hundreds of countries worldwide celebrate Earth Day around the globe, with hundreds of millions sharing in the common goal of spreading environmental awareness, protection, and advocacy. To learn more visit http://www.earthday.org/, or to help further the important Mission of Wellfield Botanic Gardens, which celebrates the inseparable relationship between water and life, inspires creativity and lifelong learning, fosters stewardship of our natural world, and grows community, VISIT, DONATE, or PURCHASE A MEMBERSHIP today!
Photo by Justin Graber