The first Earth Day occurred 47 years ago when America was in the height of its “ignorance is bliss” minset toward the environment and the anti-war movement.
Jimi Hendrix had just passed away, the Beatles released their last album and students were actively shunning the war in Vietnam.
Eight years prior to this, author and activist Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was on New York Times’ bestseller list, enlightening the world about the real environmental issues the world was facing at the time.
The idea of Earth Day sprung after the massive oil spill in 1969, when Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson thought that he could get people to rally behind this important issue.
April 22 was chosen as the date since it was after most spring breaks, but before final exams.
The first Earth Day rallied 20 million people protesting and joining the movement to demonstrate the importance of a clean earth and the necessity for respecting our mother.
“Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts. ‘It was a gamble,’ Gaylord recalled, ‘but it worked,’” according to earthday.org.
Earth Day 2017 marked the 47th anniversary with a March for Science happening all around the country.
The idea behind this movement was that science protects everyone, including mother earth. This march was co-organized by Earth Day Network in conjunction with March for Science.
Concord, New Hampshire, hosted its own March for Science, which reportedly drew thousands to the state house.
This Earth Day at Keene State College (KSC), the annual Solarfest was hosted, featuring rock bands and allowing students to learn more about their environment through different clubs like Fair Trade Club, Campus Ecology and more tabling, which offered different activities for students.
April 22, 2020 will mark the 50 year anniversary of Earth Day and Earth Day Network states that is it committed to environmental literacy.
On its website it states, “Earth Day Network is launching a campaign for global environmental and climate literacy by Earth Day 2020. We are dedicated to ensuring that every student around the world graduates high school as an environmental and climate literate citizen, ready to take action and be a voice for change. This goal is not only an enormous undertaking, it is critical and timely… Education needs to be a key part of this effort.”
KSC offers a major around this type of education called environmental studies and delves into the idea of how the environment and people interact, as well as natural, social and political systems.
Earth Day has become widely celebrated by many and reminds humans to keep the earth clean, respect the land we’ve been given and remember how detrimental our actions can be to the earth.
Mary Curtin can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org