How one Senator changed how we see the environment

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There once was a time when companies could openly dump chemicals into our streams. They could spew toxins in the air that would knowingly be harmful to the environment and not be held accountable.

April 22nd is Earth Day… and it’s celebrated on the same day every year. It all started with a senator from Wisconsin named Gaylord Nelson. He was the founder of Earth Day in the Spring of 1970. It was on April 22nd of that year that the United States had its very first Earth Day. And that very first gathering made history and was a big success.

In Denver, high schoolers used bicycles to demonstrate another way of getting around instead of cars. They picked up litter at the capital during a rally. Students in Boston used coffins to symbolize what airport pollution will do to our environment at Logan Airport. Of the many rallies around the country that day, this one was reported to have had arrests with police intervention. In New York, while 5th avenue is usually known for its fashion, it was shut off from cars and turned into a big rally. Union Square was cleaned up with volunteered help. In Chicago, over 4,000 people listened to music and speeches about a cleaner earth. Among the proposals was a pollution court to try offenders against the environment and to eliminate combustible engines. And in Los Angeles, thousands of students gathered for a rally with black balloons representing the pollution in the land sea, and air.

TV Star Eddie Albert spoke about what he thought they should take away from that day, “That man is the important thing. This earth is the important thing. This tiny little ball has only got so much oxygen… so many acres of the earth to live off of. So much water. So much metals that we need to survive. And if we [mess] it up. if we throw it into the sea. If we ruin it, we’re dead”

Earth Day is now global and celebrated in more than 190 countries to raise the awareness of keeping our environment healthy and clean for generations to come.

That first year was so successful that less than a year later, The Environmental Protection Agency got its jumpstart… and that paved the way for the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.

More information on how you can celebrate Earth Day this year: https://www.epa.gov/earthday

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