Earth Day: A Rock n’ Roll Beginning


Earth Day: A Rock n’ Roll Beginning

by Amy Lignor


Every year, April 22nd marks the birth of the environmental movement that occurred in the year 1970. Today, in 2016, most all humans no longer wear blinders where the dangers of a dying planet are concerned. Even Earth Day, April 22, Gaylord Nelson, environmental protection, rock n' rollthough a small percentage still sees the “green” movement as taking money out of the economy for no reason, most have witnessed and learned about what can happen when climates change, ice sheets melt, and water turns deadly. But back in 1970, the world kept their eyes turned away from problems that would eventually bring harm to the planet.


1970 was all about rock n’ roll. It was a counterculture that brought about the death of Jimi Hendrix, the last Beatles album ever made, and the hit that truly marked the time period: “Bridge over Troubled Water.” As far as the planet was concerned, large modes of transportation were guzzling gas and huge industry “machines” were sending out smoke into the atmosphere each and every day. There was a time when pollution was swept under the carpet, seeing as that from pollution came a better economy and more jobs. The environment didn’t have anything to do with rocks, trees, and oceans – the “environment” was all about a war raging overseas.


“Oblivious” is the best adjective to use for environmental concerns at that time, yet when Earth Day was first introduced in 1970, the true environment definitely came into focus.


For those who don’t know, Earth Day came from an idea had by a senator from Wisconsin (Gaylord Nelson), who had played witness to the massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in 1969. People were spending so much time focusing on the anti-war movement, Nelson assumed that if he could take that energy and passion and turn it toward the subject of the quickly draining environment, that the public would finally take the blinders off and learn what air and water pollution was all about. If the protests became just as loud as the ones on war, he knew it would force the men in power to put environmental protection onto the agenda.


Announcing a “national teach-in on the environment” to the media, events sprang up all across the land. April 22nd was chosen, seeing as that it fell between Spring Break and Final Exams, giving the largest and most passionate group of protestors (college students) to stand behind his cause.


20 million Americans came together across the land to demonstrate what would be needed for a healthy, sustainable environment. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the horrific deterioration of the planet, joining with the groups who had already been fighting to stop oil spills, factory pollution, power plants, the dwindling of forests in order to raise up more industry, and the extinction of wildlife that was happening at a rapid pace.


Earth Day 1970 brought everyone together – Republicans, Democrats, rich and poor, and by the end of the year that one day led to the United States Environmental Protection Agency being created and the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts being passed.


In 1990, Earth Day went global. 200 million people in 141 countries focused on environmental issues, and recycling efforts worldwide went nuts. In an ironic twist, considering the fact that this country is now under fire for the unhealthy water issues that Olympians will have to deal with, the first global Earth Day set up the United Nations Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro.


In the year 2000, the focus was on global warming and a push for clean energy, with a record number of environmental groups coming together across the globe to use the power of the Internet to make leaders see that citizens of this world wanted to act and act fast on the issue of global warming.


In 2010, Earth Day met up with a battle against lobbyists that held much wealth in their pockets and a very disinterested public spirit. Yet the Earth Day Network brought 250,000 people to the National Mall for a Climate Rally, and introduced the biggest environmental service project—A Billion Acts of Green®.


Today, the fight continues. An idea that took shape during a time of rock n’ roll, protests and passion has grown and become more powerful over the decades. Steps have been made by both citizens and big industry to clean up the environment, yet far more needs to be done.


Source:  Baret News