Earth Day Gifts / February 23, 2019 / Cindy Navarro
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.
He promoted Earth Day to senators governors mayors and college campuses newspaper editors. In November 1969 he formally announced a nationwide environmental teach-in called Earth Day would be held in the spring of 1970. As the event became headline news the public reacted enthusiastically. Nelson first handled Earth Day public relations from his senate office but with the public s overwhelming interest the office moved into its own organization. Founder of Common Cause John Gardner helped with a temporary office and college students helped field the office. Nelson appointed Dennis Hayes as coordinator of activities.
Mainstream Americans talked about recycling and conservation. In the 1980 s many people recycled within their neighborhood recycling programs. People s awareness of their ecological responsibility became part of their lives and actions. Children learned the importance of taking care of their environment; they were taught to care for the earth and its animals. The iconic Smokey Bear (originated in the mid 1940 s) featured poster slogans like "If not you who?" and "Only you can prevent forest fires. We can t." Americans seemed to step-up to their roles as Earth trustees. In the 1990 s recycling programs reduced overall waste by twenty percent. With people and government taking responsibility companies followed suit.