Earth Day is broadly generally known as a worldwide vacation to rejoice our planet and take the chance to be stewards of our native pure locations. Many of us have participated in litter pickups, tree plantings, habitat restoration initiatives and sustainability occasions in honor of planet Earth. Many extra of us have taken the chance to get exterior and recognize the atmosphere by way of snowboarding, mountaineering, biking, picnicking, walks within the park and lots of different types of out of doors recreation.
But, Earth Day has not all the time been an Earth-Yay celebration of stewardship and the atmosphere. It was born out of activism and necessity. Prior to the flip of the century, the Earth was seen as a useful resource that might present for the human species in perpetuity. Humans seen very important assets like water, clear air, intact forests and variety of life as limitless and believed that Earth’s programs might simply soak up our waste with out criticism.
With the publication of the e book “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson in 1962, that veil was lifted. Carson’s phrases dove into the reality of pesticides and the ensuing hurt on wildlife, birds, bees and even people, leading to everlasting injury to the atmosphere and a silent spring devoid of the sounds of nature.
Carson calls “for humans to act responsibly, carefully, and as stewards of the living Earth.” She empowers her readers (which included President John F. Kennedy) to ask “who speaks, and why?” and hunt down accountability. What adopted was a collection of legal guidelines to assist defend a few of our abused pure programs and assist reverse the injury that human actions have prompted. These congressional actions included: the Clean Air Act (1963), the Wilderness Act (1964), the Water Quality Act (1965) and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (1968).
“Silent Spring” was a turning level within the human relationship with the atmosphere and sparked the trendy environmental motion, however the flames of this motion had been metaphorically and actually fanned by the Cuyahoga River Fire in 1969. This hearth didn’t burn by way of forests or grasslands; the river itself was on hearth due to the quantity of air pollution being dumped into the waterway. The stewards that “Silent Spring” empowered knew that it was time to act!
Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, and Rep. Pete McCloskey of California answered that decision to motion and employed Denis Hayes, an environmentalist and organizer, to begin planning a means to increase consciousness of environmental points and generate some momentum. Through borrowing strategies of protest from the civil rights motion (sit-ins, marches and lobbying Congress), the ensuing occasion was a nationwide demonstration to protest in opposition to environmental ignorance. On April 22, 1970, an estimated 20 million folks united to use their voice to make it recognized that the atmosphere wanted our assist and that it’s price combating for. This demonstration went down in historical past as the primary Earth Day.
A cascade of coverage and laws was quickly to comply with together with: the National Environmental Policy Act (1970), the muse of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, the Clean Water Act (1972), the banning of DDT (a dangerous pesticide) in 1972, the Endangered Species Act (1973), the Marine Mammal Protection Act (1972), the Safe Drinking Water Act (1974) and the Toxic Substances Control Act (1976).
But the work is much from carried out. This yr, within the authentic spirit of Earth Day and the trendy celebration of Earth-Yay, let’s unite as a group to interact in stewardship and use our particular person and collective voice to take motion. Take a have a look at these native occasions and spend your Earth Day supporting the atmosphere proper right here within the Eagle River Valley.
Carrie Anderson is the Environmental Leadership Coordinator at Walking Mountains Science Center. She is commonly seen exploring the wild locations, trails and ski runs within the White River National Forest and past.