The earth day which is celebrated on April 22 is a commemoration of the day when the environmental movement was formed in 1970. During this period, pollution was the order of the day and it was seldom a bother to the people. Vehicles were using leaded fuels and the unpleasant smoke was a symbol of industrial prosperity.
How the idea came about
After observing the damning effects of an oil spill in Santa Barbara, Gaylord Nelson who was a senator by then realized that people needed a day to focus on the environment. In addition, he got massive inspiration from the student movement campaigning against the Vietnam wars and he realized that bonding the environmental campaign with such energy could make environmental protection a national agenda. The founder then puts together a team of about 85 people who would traverse the country doing campaigns for the movement.
In 22nd April in 1970, about 20 million Americans participated in a peaceful demonstration agitating for a sustainable environment. Colleges and universities were not left behind as they organized huge protests against environmental degradation. As this went on, people who were previously angered by oil spills, polluting industries, and raw sewage joined the movement for the worthy cause. Just like a nice hot shower, the Earth day got immense support from Democrats and Republican politicians. In fact, the movement achieved a great milestone when the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Just before 1990, there was a global rally which attracted more than 200 million people across hundreds of countries. This helped in launching the earth day on the global map and it immediately influenced the adoption of large-scale recycling efforts.
Earth day at the present
As the millennium was drawing closer, the founder organized a huge global rally but this time it was geared towards the pressing issue of global warming as well as the utilization of clean energy. This rally involved the participation of more than 5000 environmental groups spread across about 140 countries. Unlike past rallies, this one took advantage of the internet to organize and manage the environmental activists. The rally sent a serious message to all leaders of the world that the citizens were in need of a firm action addressing global warming.
However, things were not easy because the environmental movement had to deal with lobbyists from super rich oil companies who wanted people to remain ignorant of the dangers of irresponsible utilization of natural resources. In spite of the huge obstacles, Earth day was able to stamp its authority as a relevant movement that was there to stay. In addition, a global tree planting movement started and today it has evolved into the successful canopy project.
Today, Earth Day has achieved a high status since it’s the largest secular observance on the planet. Besides, it has received the attention of more than one billion people and it has morphed into a day packed with constructive action that has influenced government policies. To date, the advocacy for a clean and healthy environment goes on with increased zeal since people have experienced the effects of climate change.