Tag: Earth Day

Latest News – THE ENVIRONMENTALIST’s Earth Day


Golf and the Environment

Golf courses can be breathtaking in their beauty.  Environmentally?  Not as much…  Includes an interesting survey of golf professionals about climate change and sustainable use.

NASA rolls out the ‘Green Carpet’ for Earth Day

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is commemorating Earth Day with a ‘Green Carpet’ campaign of press conferences, features on NASA TV, links and new photos of the earth taken from the latest shuttle missions.

U.S. Identifies Tainted Heparin in 11 Countries

Contamination in the blood thinner Heparin that was produced in China has been discovered in eleven countries, accounting for 81 deaths in the United States, so far.

More new articles at THE ENVIRONMENTALIST

Earth Day’s real, lasting legacy

Happy Earth Day.

Maybe we should start with a disclosure that I am Gaylord Nelson’s biographer, which may give me a somewhat different perspective on Earth Day, founded by Senator Nelson (pictured), than some others.

That said, do take time to read Meteor Blade’s commentary and Q-A with Denis Hayes, who has been associated with Earth Day since Gaylord Nelson hired him to coordinate the first one in 1970.

Earth Day, it is true, has not solved all of the world’s environmental problems.  But it has had, and continues to have, a profound impact on how people think about and relate to the environment.

Gaylord Nelson’s primary goal in launching Earth Day was to get environmental issues a prominent place on this country’s political agenda, and it certainly accomplished that long ago.  On the first Earth Day, seven months after Nelson announced plans for what he envisioned as a campus environmental teach-in, 20 million people — 10 per cent of the US population at the time — participated in some way.

Earth Day introduced the Environmental Decade, an unparalleled period of legislative and grassroots activity to protect the nation’s environment. More significant environmental legislation was signed into law during the eleven-year “decade” (1970-1980) than during the 170-year period prior to Earth Day.  Congress passed twenty-eight major environmental laws, and hundreds of other public lands bills to protect and conserve natural resources.

Philip Shabecoff, a noted environmental writer, described it this way:

After Earth Day, nothing was the same. Earth Day brought revolutionary change and touched off a great burst of activism that profoundly affected the nation’s laws, its economy, its corporations, its farms, its politics, science, education, religion, and journalism… Most important, the social forces unleashed after Earth Day changed, probably forever, the way Americans think about the environment.


Five Questions for Earth Day’s Denis Hayes

In a few paragraphs, I’ll get to the promised interview, but first a few words of my own. (If you’re short on time, scroll to the interview box).

Every year, I greet Earth Day with mixed feelings because the first one came at a time of tremendous upheaval in another realm.

Although that first Earth Day in 1970 – which Denis Hayes coordinated – focused needed attention on the world’s environmental troubles, it was also a diversion. Just a week after Earth Day, on April 29, the U.S. sent troops into Cambodia and, within three weeks, six students had been killed during protests at Kent State and Jackson State universities. Then, too, while millions joined in Earth Day activities, the event was peppered with corporate sponsors, many of whom were more interested in making a public relations coup than anything substantively ecological.

Indeed, some corporate participants took a downright hostile tone when it was pointed out that something engaged in by them might be environmentally destructive.

Nonetheless, for a time, in part because Richard Nixon needed something positive to balance his administration’s disastrous continuation of the war in Southeast Asia and because he was pressured by Democrats like Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson and members of his own party, quite a number of successful environmental initiatives were undertaken, including the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and legislation on clean water and clean air.  

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