Guess what, everyone? Today is Earth Day! Yawn. Shrug. *eye roll*
Okay, okay. We get it. Every day is dedicated to something. National Rubber Eraser Day. National Waffle Day. There’s even a National Hug a Plumber Day — which is actually kinda legit because plumbers probably deserve an extra hug or two.
Behind every national and international day of recognition, there’s a story and the Earth Day story happens to be pretty cool. The very first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970 and according to the activists who started it, “it organized itself.”
The day of awareness was born out of chaos. The general public and government officials were starting to see glimpses of the horrifying effects of pollution in the early-mid 60s and realized we were facing major environmental issues.
Cleveland’s raging Coyahoga River fire that occurred in 1969, is said to be one of the big events that opened the public’s eye. Simply put, the river spontaneously combusted from all of the toxic chemicals.
And this was not the first time.
That same river had burst into flames on several occasions dating back to 1952. When Time Magazine ran an arresting photo of one of these fires and called it a river that “oozes rather than flows,” people took notice.
The public, especially fledgling greenies, were beginning to see these types of environmental scares all around them. Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson had tried for years to bring environmental issues to the forefront, but he wasn’t having the success he envisioned.
Then he saw the power of students when they rallied against the Vietnam War and he made a bold move. He called for a nationwide environmental demonstration that all citizens were welcomed to join. With no budget and grassroots magic, over 20 million people participated.
There was no Google, no live-streaming anything, no dramatic 24/7 news shows.
How did so many people hear about it?
The Earth Day movement was lead by young activists made up of professionals and students of all ages who were passionate about promoting environmental awareness. The opportunity to make a difference presented itself and they did something about it. They cleaned up waterways, streets and parks. They rallied and spread the word, volunteering their time and energy.
As a result, in the 1970s more than 28 reforms were passed including: the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, (regulated hazardous waste from production to disposal) and the Toxic Substances Control Act, (restricted the use of chemicals in food, drug, cosmetics and pesticides).
Today is Earth Day’s 45th anniversary and the global movement has sparked billions of acts of green.
We also like to create awareness about our water supply and water level in Lake Travis. We may joke about icebergs in Lake Travis, but the reality is that article reached more than 600,000 people — and many of those people were not aware of our dire water situation.
For Earth Day 2015, we would love nothing more than for you to join us in a daily effort to live local and help preserve and conserve our Lake Travis.
Happy Earth Day Lake Travis!