Earth Day Gifts / February 24, 2019 / Gladys Hayden
Approximately 20 million people celebrated the first Earth Day. In America participation was high in schools which ten thousand grade schools and high schools two thousand colleges participating. Amazing numbers considering the event started as a grassroots movement. Government Actions The strength of the Earth Day movement was clear to legislatures. Following Earth Day s success the U.S. government passed laws that targeted cleaner living. In 1970 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was established. The Clean Air Act followed with a focus on reducing air pollution with the Clean Water Act doing likewise for water clean-up in 1972. The U.S. also passed the Endangered Species Act to protect animals from extinction.
A study in California showed an interesting consumer reaction. Electric bills featured along with the numbers a smiling face on below-average usage and a frowning face on above-average bills. After that simple nudge the heavy users made cuts in consumption while the light users remained frugal. The same could be done with water bills in drought-plagued areas and desert developments. Mother s Day in India is celebrated at homes with as much reverence and gusto as anywhere else in the world. In India as a secular nation mothers and mother goddesses have been worshiped for generations.
In 1962 marine biologist Rachel Carson published Silent Spring. The book talked about the commonly used toxic pesticides used in agriculture and daily life. The title referred to the consequences of the devastating pesticides: a world without birds. Surprisingly Silent Spring became a hit. Americans cared and they wanted the facts. In 1968 the world saw the entire Earth for the first time. Apollo astronauts photographed the planet on their flight home from the moon. The Earth looked beautiful with its swirls of blues and whites. The photo provided a startling awareness: people saw Earth as vulnerable and needing human care.