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Earth Day began Forty Years ago Today

Updated on September 15, 2011

Forty years ago in 1970, Earth Day marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement. The founder of Earth Day, Gaylord Nelson, the senator from Wisconsin proposed the first nationwide environmental protest. He stated that his purpose was “to shake up the political establishment and force this issue onto the national agenda.” Back in those days, environmental issues took a back seat to modern conveniences. People did not have problems with driving gas guzzlers that ran on leaded gasoline, in some places smokestack turned the sky black and toxic waste was being dumped into rivers, with no second thought.

With this lack of concern for the environment being so prevalent, something had to be done to stir up the social consciousness of everyone living on this planet. Back in 1970, twenty million Americans observed Earth Day. Many colleges and universities joined in, by organizing protests against the deterioration of the environment. This movement started with great hope, on the part of those who saw a better tomorrow, free of oil spills, toxic dumps, pesticides, raw sewage, polluting factories, and the loss of wildlife.

It was already the dream of these concerned citizens, that we would soon embrace a new era, where people drove electric cars, and eat only organic foods. It didn’t happen over night, but we are starting to see more and more signs of these seeds of change, in today’s efforts to go Green. Many of the larger conglomerates are starting to realize that it can be profitable to do business in an ecologically friendly way.  

Today we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day and there are activities around the world to focus on this event and to help everyone on the planet to find ways to make our world more sustainable. We have now made recycling a common practice, hybrid cars are becoming more common, more people use their own bag to take home their groceries home, organic food is being more and more favored, and many marketing practices favor going Green.  

With such issues as global warming and the melting glaciers becoming more prevalent, ecological awareness is becoming more common place, than it was forty years ago. It’s no longer an issue of conveniences; it is an issue of survival and whether or not the planet will be sustainable in the near future.

Today we take time to focus on some very important issues that not only touch us as a planet, but as individuals as well. When it comes down to it, keeping our planet sustainable is not just the job of politicians or corporate conglomerates, it’s the responsibility of each individual.

We must ask ourselves, do we make an effort to recycle, do we buy products that are earth friendly, is a buying a hybrid car a serious consideration of ours, when we buy food, do we try to buy organic and do we make a general effort to produce less waste. Yes, we can all make a difference. Today lets all celebrate a wonderful tradition, which started forty years ago, with great joy and a sense of purpose. 

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    • Harlan Colt profile image

      Harlan Colt 7 years ago from the Rocky Mountains

      Good hub! I think there is always room for improvement in being cleaner and greener, but I think we can take it too far too. By that I mean some people use the environment to force non-issues on people and limit their freedom because they want some politcal gain that has nothing to do with the environment.

      Al Gore for example has a primary residence that consumes more electricty than 5 normal homes or something like that. Its on the web, I've read it before.

      Then you have companies like Monsanto - don't get me started on that my response will be longer than your post!

      I have some problems with the whole carbon-footprint movement. Plants and trees live off of carbon and produce air. If we reduce carbon are we creating an arid, desert climate? Are we robbing botnaicals of the life giving resources it needs? Of course I don't mean factory smoke and excessive auto emissions, we need to clean that up, but you have websites where people can go buy carbon credits - I call it existence tax where you can buy redemption for living - I just think its a little overboard and people are abusing the green-cause for profit.

      There is nothing wrong with being a little clean and green, but you have to take it with balance too. I believe man is an animal with as much right to enjoy life and the environment as any other animal. When another person tells me I cannot walk through the woods or travel here and there because I might step on a blade of grass or something it really ticks me off. They want you to believe that you evolved from a mud puddle of goo and the same original life form of all other life forms, but at the same time - you are somehow no longer part of nature and nature has to be protected from YOU. It doesn't make any sense to me. Man cannot evolve away from nature - he is every bit as much a part of it as a wild animal in the jungle. Passing laws and regulations to keep people out of nature is unnatural - all in the name of being natural - very hypocritical in my view.

      But, what really excites me is alternative power and living off the grid. I would love to have the resources to produce all my own natural, clean, renewable power to run my home and my car too. I see these things on the horizen for the future and I can't wait.

      Again good hub!

      - Harlan

    • Internetwriter62 profile image

      Internetwriter62 7 years ago from Marco Island, Florida

      Thank you Harlan, I'm grateful for your thoughtful input. I do agree with you, a lot of people in the environmental movement do take things a little too far and yes there are a lot of gimmicks in the name of saving the planet. I just wanted to emphasize the positive, which are common sense actions such as recycling and trying to be more consciences of the impact we all have on our world and each other.

      I do believe that God created the world for our enjoyment. It is the people who abuse these privileges, that I address in my hub, not someone who simply wants to enjoy a forest or natural scenery, I think it's wrong when people treat nature like some museum, where we are not aloud to touch anything. Thanks again and yes, it excites me also that there are advances in renewable energy sources. All we can do is hope.

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Great hub.

    • Internetwriter62 profile image

      Internetwriter62 7 years ago from Marco Island, Florida

      Thank you Sandyspider, I think it's great that we have day to that reminds everyone to be kind to our world.

    • Harlan Colt profile image

      Harlan Colt 6 years ago from the Rocky Mountains

      I feel bad Internetwriter,

      I really like reading your hubs and responding with you, but when I review my own comments a few days later, it seems to me I may come across as confrontational. I am sorry, I don't mean to sound that way. I respect you much and I like the person I see in you in through your hubs. Forgive me if I seem course with you, perhaps I need to be more diplomatic in my comments to better express where I am coming from. Text communication leaves out a lot compared to in person. I give my raw opinion/input because it is my honest face, but I speak out of respect too. Forgive me if I have ever offended you, I don't mean to. You are one of my favorite. :)

      - Harlan

    • Internetwriter62 profile image

      Internetwriter62 6 years ago from Marco Island, Florida

      Please Harlan, don't be so hard on yourself, you are very diplomatic and nice, and I really appreciate your insight. You always explain why when you do not agree with a point and I appreciate that. I like thoughtful comments like yours, it makes me realize you read it and gave my article some serious thought. I appreciate it. You have always addressed me in a respectful way, and with honesty and I think that is very nice. I enjoy interchanging comments with you. So please keep them coming.

    • LRobbins profile image

      LRobbins 6 years ago from Germany

      Very informative hub! I knew very little about the history of Earth Day before reading this. I had no idea that it had been around for 40 years.

    • Internetwriter62 profile image

      Internetwriter62 6 years ago from Marco Island, Florida

      Thanks LRobbins,

      I still have a lot to learn about ecology in general.

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