On this day in 1970 it is said that the modern environmental movement was born. “The height of hippie and flower-child culture in the United States, 1970 brought the death of Jimi Hendrix, the last Beatles album, and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Protest was the order of the day, but saving the planet was not the cause. War raged in Vietnam, and students nationwide increasingly opposed it.
At the time, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. “Environment” was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news. Although mainstream America remained oblivious to environmental concerns, the stage had been set for change by the publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962. The book represented a watershed moment for the modern environmental movement, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries and, up until that moment, more than any other person; Ms Carson raised public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and public health”
In many ways it can still be said that a proportion of North America is still cocooned in the romance with large “gas-guzzling” vehicles but the attitudes have started to shift and smaller, efficient cars are becoming more commonplace.
The movement was founded by Gaylord Nelson, a senator from Wisconsin after he witnessed a massive oil spill in 1969 in California and the result was an estimated 20 million Americans taking to the streets in protest and to heighten awareness of environmental issues. Although initially it was an American event the popularity has now grown to include many nations and people around the world.
The ever important fight for a clean environment continues in a climate of increasing urgency, as the harsh ravages of climate change become more prevalent each and every day and to more and more people around the globe. By taking part or simply spreading the word you too could find energy you did not even know that you had. If we can harness this energy and channel it to do good we can all work together for a healthier planet for our future generations.
In the UK the Woodland Trust has connected their Project Ancient Woodland with Earth day 2014. This is a campaign aimed at forcing the Prime Minister in to changing government policy regarding the guaranteed protection of ancient woodland in the UK. An article on this will follow in the near future in relation to Scotland by us here at SGP.
This year Earth Day is focusing on Green Cities. “Today, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities. As the urban population grows and the effects of climate change worsen, our cities have to evolve.
It’s time for us to invest in efficiency and renewable energy, rebuild our cities and towns, and begin to solve the climate crisis. Over the next two years, with a focus on Earth Day 2014, the Green Cities campaign will mobilise a global movement to accelerate this transition. Join us in calling for a new era of green cities.”
Get involved with Earth Day!