Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day - It's Easy Being Green!

Earth Day, annually held on April 22, is designed to raise global awareness of the Earth's environment and how to better protect it. The first Earth Day was held in 1970 and organized by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, who was inspired to rally active support for the environment after witnessing the damage caused by the 1969 oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. Backed with tremendous support from grassroots activists around the country, the first Earth Day was a huge success, with an estimated 20 million Americans participating in peaceful demonstrations for the environment. Popular support for the first Earth Day led to significant milestones in environmental legislation in the U.S. and around the world.

The widespread appeal of the first Earth Day prompted landmark environmental legislation from the U.S. government. Approximately eight months after the event, the Nixon administration created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address the needs of the natural environment. The establishment of the EPA was followed by the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act of 1972, laws that set federal standards for acceptable levels of pollution in both air and water. Congress also passed the Endangered Species Act in 1973 to protect plants, animals, and the habitats in which they live.

Although the popularity of Earth Day dwindled in the years after the first event, the environmental movement continued to grow over the following decades. In the 1970s, Greenpeace was founded in Canada and the National Audubon Society and John Muir's Sierra Club began efforts to prevent commercial logging in old growth forests. Many environmental discussions also began to include questions about the role of CFCs as a greenhouse gas. In the 1980s, many American families started participating in community recycling programs. In 1992, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, commonly known as the Earth Summit, was held to bring attention to the effect humans have on the environment.

Since its roots as a protest movement in the 1970s, Earth Day has become a yearly reminder of the many issues facing the global environment. Earth Day festivities around the world often include rallies, exhibitions, or fairs that focus on topics ranging from the overlogging of rainforests to ozone depletion. In 2006, the Earth Day Network, an organization established by the founders of Earth Day, announced its plans to kick off a three-year campaign to reverse the damaging effects of global warming, an issue that has gained visibility and momentum in recent years.

"Earth Day." Issues: Understanding Controversy and Society. ABC-CLIO, 2011. Web. 22 Apr. 2011.
Further Reading

Donald R. Liddick
This comprehensive analysis of garbage trafficking, wildlife trafficking, illegal fishing, and illegal logging highlights the difficulty in balancing human interests and environmental responsibility.

Beyond the Age of Oil: The Myths, Realities, and Future of Fossil Fuels and Their Alternatives
Leonardo Maugeri
Translated from the Italian by Jonathan T. Hine Jr.
This book offers a revealing picture of the myths and realities of the energy world by one of our most renowned energy experts and managers.

Encyclopedia of the U.S. Government and the Environment: History, Policy, and Politics
Matthew J. Lindstrom, Editor
A timely new comprehensive resource on the history of the U.S. government's approach to environmental policy.

No comments:

Post a Comment