Nature Notes, Ed's Corner

Earth Day

April 13, 2012
a group of people hiking

April 22nd is Earth Day, and being The Nature Place, we take this day seriously! While we think every day should be earth day (remember on Mother’s Day asking why there is no kid’s day, and being told that “every day is kid’s day”?), we like to think of April 22nd as a birthday celebration for our planet.

The first Earth Day came about through the efforts of Senator Gaylord Nelson when he realized that this country did not have an environmental agenda, and at the same time had all sorts of environmental problems. The hot button environmental issues of the day (many still relevant now!) were air and water pollution, endangered species, habitat destruction, dwindling resources and overpopulation.

As Senator Nelson toured the nation to learn about our environmental concerns he also witnessed a great deal of energy going into protests, called Teach-ins, against the Vietnam War. His idea for the first Earth Day was a big Teach-in for the environment, a way to harness this activism and energy towards the earth. A friend of Senator Nelson’s who had served on one of his early committees is credited with coming up with the name ‘Earth Day’. This friend’s birthday happened to fall on April 22, the date of the proposed event, and he told Senator Nelson that since ‘birthday’ rhymes with ‘earth day’ it seemed a fitting name.