Earth Day Gifts / February 25, 2019 / Blanche Durham
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.
The proclamation also stated that participants would celebrate an international Earth Day to create a single community and embrace Earth s gifts. The proclamation was endorsed by well-known people and leaders around the world: astronaut Buzz Aldrin anthropologist Margaret Mead inventor-scientist Buckminister Fuller Japanese environmental scientist Y. Fukushima American senators U.N. President S.O. Adebo and UN Secretary-General Thant. In April of 1970 the world celebrated another Earth Day event. The April 22nd event also began as a way to spread awareness of environmental issues. American Senator and conservationist Gaylord Nelson had actively toured the U.S. in the mid 1960 s with an environmental awareness agenda.