[ 2006-04-24 09:32 ]
|April 22th |
|Earth Day was first observed
in Spring of 1970. An estimated 20 million people nationwide attended festivities out of which came the largest grassroots
environmental movement in U.S. history, and the impetus for national
legislation like the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. By the twentieth
anniversary of that event, April 22, 1990, more than 200 million people in
141 countries participated in Earth Day celebrations.
Former U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day's co-founder, modeled
Earth Day on anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, called "teach-ins," that
were common on college campuses. "At a conference in Seattle in September
1969, I announced that in the spring of 1970 there would be a nationwide
grassroots demonstration on behalf of the environment," says Nelson. "The
response was electric. Telegrams, letters, and telephone inquiries poured
in from all across the country." As many as 20 million Americans
participated in environmental rallies, demonstrations and other activities
in the 1970 Earth Day.
Since the first Earth Day, however, the environmental movement has
increasingly transformed itself from a largely grassroots, citizen crusade
to a professionally-organized, established special interest.