Earth Day: A history and a personal call to action!

April 10, 2019 3:12 pm
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“We disregard the needs of our ecosystem at our mortal peril That’s was the great lesson of Earth Day. It must never be forgotten.”  – Gaylord Nelson

But has it been forgotten? Out of sight, out of mind is sadly the mentality of many Americans today when it comes to garbage/pollution. We see the pictures of deceased wildlife entangled in garbage, our hearts ache for a split-second as with think “we need to do something about this” then later that day we toss that plastic water bottle in the trash instead of the recycling bin….We are all guilty of it, but what matters is the actions we take to clean up this mess we made in the first place. One small action can lead to a ripple effect.

The History of Earth Day

US Senator, Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin had a strong heart for our earth, believing that:  “Every person has the inalienable right to a decent environment” and stating “The wealth of the nation is its air, water, soil, forests, minerals, rivers, lakes, oceans, scenic beauty, wildlife habitats, and biodiversity…That’s all there is. That’s the whole economy. That’s where all the economic activity and jobs come from. These biological systems are the sustaining wealth of the world.” In 1970, Nelson created the very first Earth Day after seeing the disarray of the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara California, that at the time, was the largest oil spill in US waters and still ranks third today. All of this started a ripple effect of consciousness for our environment. After this disaster, President Nixon signed the National Environmental Policy Act in 1969, which led the way to the July 1970 establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency. The Clean Water Act passed in 1972 and the Endangered Species Act in 1973. Those Acts do a lot to help, but they don’t stop our problem. For an even more in depth look at the first earth day and the CBS clips click here.

Things you can do to save our Earth:

  1. We’ve all seen the story about the whale that suffocated on plastic bags, right? He’s not the only wildlife in trouble – BE a part of the solution by shopping with reusable bags – Some stores require you to bring or own bags, and others will offer you a small discount for using reusable bags.
  2. Invest in a reusable coffee mug- Some coffee shops will offer you a discount when you provide your own cup. Altogether, Americans drink 102 billion cups of coffee annually. That breaks down to 280.5 million cups per day. We can keep a lot of those cups out of the trash by using our own.
  3. Did you know that switching all of your bills to e-bills and online invoices can save millions of trees every single year? It’s true! If you are in a position where you can do that without making everything more confusing and stressful, then you definitely want to look at the different things that you can do in the long run.
  4. Educated yourself! Education is the key to everything that you do for the environment. If you know more about what you can do to protect the environment, then you will be able to use that knowledge and share it with others and, in the long run, make a big difference.
  5. Take initiative to clean up trash. If you’re on social media at all you may have seen the new #trashtag challenge. People are going to areas laden with trash and cleaning it up, taking before and after pictures posting it with the hashtag #trahstag. Get outside and show us yours!

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This post was written by Jolynn VanGinkel

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