by THOMAS O’SCANNELL Staff Writer
Nature is often a victim of harsh mistreatment, but luckily, there is always one day of the year where that changes.
Earth Day, which takes place on April 22, is supposed to be a day when all people can show their compassion and support for their natural surroundings. A simple act like recycling is encouraged to help the movement for a healthier planet.
Junior Shannon O’Scannell says, “I think Earth Day is very important because the Earth is often taken advantage of, and it’s a good day to reflect on the environment.”
Environmental activists used the protests going around in 1970 to help their seemingly lost cause. They felt that gaining more followers would help their efforts become more public and even mainstream. They felt that it was time to make a move.
“It was a gamble, but it worked,” said Gaylord Nelson, who was a Senator for the state of Wisconsin at the time.
Nelson is commemorated as the founder of Earth Day. He adored the way students were protesting the Vietnam War, and thought he could do the same with the environment. He gathered himself a dedicated crew of 85 people to help spread these ideas.
On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans engaged in a full-on protest against those causing hurt to the environment.
These people could be found in all places of public gathering. Even colleges and universities joined in. All of these groups showed their opposition to air pollution, toxic dumps, and so much more.
With that, the impossible was achieved – they got recognition. People from all classifications and social rankings took notice and started doing something about helping the Earth, which was a huge relief to the ones who were fighting.
One could even say the efforts on April 22, 1970 were more successful than intended.
They helped establish the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It also influenced the American legislative bodies to sign the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
Indeed, the first Earth Day was a massive success. It soon turned out that it was not a one-hit wonder, either.
Exactly 20 years after the first Earth Day in 1970, environmental protection groups helped spur another large demonstration. This Earth Day saw other countries beginning to show their own support for the environment. Soon, environmental protection became a recognized cause worldwide.
New organizations were founded and awareness was raised after Earth Day in 1990, which also resulted in President Bill Clinton awarding Gaylord Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom for founding Earth Day.
The importance of Earth Day has not declined since. An identical demonstration to the ones in 1970 and 1990 took place in 2000 and 2010, continuing the fight for a healthier planet.
“I think it’s a great holiday to help show the people how we need to protect the world,” says freshman Nik Kapoor.
What will you do for a better environment?