Earth Day: A Senator More Than 50 Years Ago Got People Fighting For Planet

"Millions of people around the world will pause on Monday, at least for a moment, to mark Earth Day. It’s an annual event founded by people who hoped to stir activism to clean up and preserve a planet that is now home to some 8 billion humans and assorted trillions of other organisms. ...

Earth Day has its roots in growing concern over pollution in the 1960s, when author Rachel Carson’s 1962 book “Silent Spring,” about the pesticide DDT and its damaging effects on the food chain, hit bestseller lists and raised awareness about nature’s delicate balance.

But it was a senator from Wisconsin, Democrat Gaylord Nelson, who had the idea that would become Earth Day. Nelson had long been concerned about the environment when a massive offshore oil spill sent millions of gallons onto the southern California coast in 1969. Nelson, after touring the spill site, had the idea of doing a national “teach-in” on the environment, similar to teach-ins being held on some college campuses at the time to oppose the war in Vietnam."

The Associated Press had the story April 17, 2024.


"Honoring Earth Day Through Environmental Reporting" (Pulitzer Center)

"How Earth Day Became Public Relations Day" (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)

OpEd: "Earth Day Is A Chance To Win The Messaging War Against Polluters" (Washington Post)

Opinion: "Celebrate Earth Day by Skipping the "Green Consumerism" Fads" (Sierra)

"The Radicalism of the First Earth Day" (Covering Climate Now)

Source: AP, 04/22/2024