Friday, April 24, 2020

World Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Earth Day - The History Behind The Holiday



Before Rachel Carson's, Silent Spring, was released in 1962, humans were consuming tons of the
Earth's limited resources, and few were concerned with preserving the planet as a home we must care
for. Carson's book planted the seeds for change, and eight years later, on April 22nd, 1970, the first
Earth day was celebrated. It is still celebrated annually across the globe. This year, while some
celebrated in Oregon by digging up their old potatoes and planting new ones, many celebrate in
quarantine with the Spring beckoning them to love the earth from inside sanitized windows. Earth day
serves as a time for reflection, for us to take account of how our behavior has shaped the land we live,
breathe, eat and drink from. And although earth day doesn't necessarily signify the birth day of our
planet, the big bang or another creation myth, what have you, many use it as an excuse to turn off their
lights, consume less, pick up trash along dirty sidewalks, etc. And if it weren't for the
coronavirus pandemic, grocery stores would presumably operate as normal.




The first Earth day in 1970 was not quite as sedentary. 


The catalyst for this holiday's recognition in the United States was in the groups of activists all over the
country. They used that day, April 22nd, to send a wake up call to everyone partaking in systems of
earthly destruction. Hippies raided grocery stores, calling to question the consistent use of
single-user plastics, thousands of protests were organized on university campuses and rallies across the
nation in parks, auditoriums and streets were broadcasted. It served as one of the more uniting events in
U.S. history, as it brought republicans and democrats together on a stance toward change. This led to
progressive political action. The first Earth day led to the creation United States
Environmental Protection Agency and environmental laws, all the first of their kind, including the
National Environmental Education Actthe Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Clean Air Act,
we're passed. Two years later Congress passed the Clean Water Act.  A year after that, Congress
passed the Endangered Species Act and soon after the
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.




Since that first celebration and call to action, earth day has spread into a global holiday. Just a decade
ago, 193 countries were reported to have partaken on Earth day festivities, marches and volunteerism.
Today it remains a global (and of course earthly) affair. 

This Earth day in 2020 marked the 50th anniversary of the holiday. With the concern for global warming
rising, and less action being taken by our government today, people are motivated to educate and
organize. The network created by earth day serves consistently as a reminder of the good we can do
when we stand together toward a common goal which will affect the future for everyone. 

Sources
Photos from Unsplash.com

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