Home History Class The Little Known History of Earth Day | Guest Post

The Little Known History of Earth Day | Guest Post

The Little Known History of Earth Day | Guest Post

One World
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(Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional; This is not medical advice or scientific fact; the following article is simply my personal findings on studying Covid-19 via the internet. The following article is not intended for anything more than a personal opinion piece.)

Guest Post By David B. Beaver

The sun is coming out,

and flowers are starting to bloom, and the month of April is reaching its end. That means World Earth Day is just about here. Millions of people all over the world are aware of and celebrate Earth Day in one way or another. Sadly, there won’t be many festivities this year with many nations on lock-down, but the spirit of Earth Day is alive and well. Earth Day is about celebrating the planet, nature, and all the precious gifts they provide us Earth Day in many ways marked the beginning of the environmental movement in the United States and eventually all over the world. Today it is celebrating in over 140 countries and is a reminder for all of us to be good stewards of the planet that gives us life.


Celebrating the Earth and environmental awareness were not always so popular, though, and Earth Day would not be born until a fateful day on April 22 of 1970.

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The Silent Spring and The Burning River

The tradition of Earth Day began in a very different world than the one we live in today. It was a world where industry ruled, and their experts were the final authority on everything. Environmental awareness barely existed, and a city of smog in many ways, was seen as a city of prosperity and success.

Few people would challenge this viewpoint until the year 1962 when Rachel Carson released her bestselling book, The Silent Spring. The book was a direct attack on many companies in the chemical industry. It called into question the dangers of pesticides and the adverse effects she believed they might be having on Americans and the environment. Her work would eventually lead to the passage of numerous pesticide regulations, including the banning of DDT. One could also say it planted the seeds of what would become the environmental movement in America. It wasn’t until seven years later, however, that people would begin to open their eyes.

For years Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River was a dumping ground for industrial waste, oils, and chemicals of every kind. In the city’s early history, the residents enjoyed their drinking water from Lake Erie. They used the river to dispose of sewage. Because of this, the river was generally ignored and left as free game for various industrial firms. Most residents didn’t seem to mind this as the river caught on fire seven times between the years 1868 and 1952. The last fire in 1952 caused over 1 ½ billion dollars I damage, but the prevailing attitude seemed to be that this was simply a cost of doing business.

It wasn’t until yet another blaze took place in 1969 that more people began to pay attention. The fire took only 20 minutes to extinguish, but the impact it had on the environmental movement is still felt today. Attitudes about the environment had been evolving since voices like Carson had begun to speak out. Cleveland’s residents, already plagued by an array of problems in the city, along with the eyes of the nation, were watching.

In a world where industry was everything, and the environment always took the backseat, suddenly everything was about to change.

Ask not what your planet can do for you. Ask what you can do for the planet.
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The First Earth Day

Elected to the U.S senate in 1962, Senator Gaylord Nelson was an adamant voice that spoke out at the time about many environmental issues. He had already established himself as a leader and an influential voice in the environmental movement when he decided that something more needed to be done. Inspired by the college teach-ins of the Vietnam War Protest movement would make plans for a massive, nationwide event to educate the public on essential issues on the preservation of our planet and natural resources.

In the Fall of 1969, he would announce the details for a grand Earth Day event at a press conference, and the story spread like wildfire. The movement would recruit Stanford University student president and activist Denis Hayes. This national event attracts over 20 million students, activists, and participants in protests and demonstrations all over the country.

Shortly after the Earth Day event, we would see the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the signing of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Clean Species Acts, and a substantial rise in support in the American public for environmental issues in general. In 1980 President Jimmy Carter would officiate April 22 as the official date for the event all over the United States.

Planet Earth First
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Earth Day Today


Today Earth Day a multi-national movement, thanks in part to the work of Denis Hayes and a number other of activists and influential voices all over the world. It is considered the most extensively observed non-religious tradition in the world, celebrated by over a billion people in 140 countries worldwide.

David D. Beaver

That Concludes Our Earth Day Class

You can expect more and more of these Guest Posts, Students! As Renaissance Rising is getting older and making friends, the guest blog spots are filling up! Make sure to come back tomorrow- we have another incredible Guest Blog Post- all leading up till Friday with the 1 Month Anniversary of RenRi!

Law Matheson

"Small acts of kindness are what will keep the light alive in the coming darkness. Keep the light inside you burning bright- someone is looking to you as inspiration." Renaissance Rising

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