Earth Day Gifts / February 23, 2019 / Francisca Mccarty
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.
Wanting the U.S. government to take an active role in environmental concerns Nelson presented the idea for a national conservationist tour to President Kennedy who supported the idea. While President Kennedy s tour did not turn environmental issues into mainstream conversations it was a beginning in changing America s role in environmental issues. Nelson was inspired by college campuses widespread Vietnam protests or teach-ins. He thought a nationwide conservationist teach-in would get more Americans involved in environmental issues. Nelson presented his Earth Day idea to other government officials and news organizations.
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.