DAY OF EARTH - THE HISTORY OF THE LARGEST ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVE
Every year on April 22nd Earth Day celebrates the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. Today, the initiative is the largest non-religious celebration that has become the "Earth Week" and a seven-day event focusing on the planet's environmental problems.
Origin of the ecological movement
In the early 1960s, US citizens gradually realized the consequences of environmental pollution. Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" bestseller since 1962 has raised the issue of the dangerous effects of pesticides on American rural areas. The book sold more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries and began turning point - increased awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and the links between pollution and public health.
Later that decade - a devastating fire in Cuyahoga River - sheds light on the problem of chemical waste disposal. Until then, the conservation of the planet's natural resources is not part of the national political agenda, and the number of US activists devoted to large-scale issues such as industrial pollution is minimal. Plants pump pollutants into the air, hazardous wastes are dumped into lakes and rivers with little legal effect. Only a small part of the US population knows about recycling.
The idea for the first Earth Day
The idea of a national day focusing on environmental issues comes to Earth Day's founder, Gaylord Nelson, a Wisconsin senator. This happens after he witnesses the devastation of a mass oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Senator Nelson announces the idea of a "national environmental initiative" to all media and attracts like-minded writers - Pitt McClells, Republican Congressman and Denis Hayes of Harvard as National Coordinator. The initiative includes more than 85 volunteers to promote upcoming events across the country.
On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans came to the streets to demonstrate their commitment to the planet. Thousands of colleges and universities organize protests against environmental degradation. Earth Day - 1970 achieves unification of Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, different organizations, students and other volunteers who together implemented various activities supporting the conservation of flora and fauna on the planet.
In 1990, a group of eco leaders turned to Dennis Hayes with a request to organize another major campaign. This time, Earth Day becomes global, mobilizing a record 200 million people in 141 countries and raising environmental issues on the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide.
Earth Day today
After decades of successful initiatives Earth Day reaches its current status of the largest general campaign in the world, which includes annually more than one billion people. Earth Day is also a day of action that changes human behavior and provokes changes in politics.