This year marks the 49th annual celebration of this recognition, valuable not only for the honor it gives to our planet, but also the action it encourages and the rich history it holds. Earth Day may be one out of 365 days each year, but it represents so much more than that.
In 1962, Biologist and writer Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, an expose on the harmful effects of pollution and pesticides on the environment as well as human health. Silent Spring quickly became a New York Times bestseller, selling over 500,000 copies. Fast forward 8 years later, and the growing anti-war movement fed energy into this newfound environmental movement. On April 22, 1970, the very first Earth Day “gave voice to that emerging consciousness...putting environmental concerns on the front page.”
Then-Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson came up with the idea for a national day of focus on the environment “after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a ‘national teach-in on the environment’ to the national media; persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair; and recruited Denis Hayes from Harvard as national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land. April 22, falling between Spring Break and Final Exams, was selected as the date.”
The Earth Day celebration happened all across the US; 20 million Americans participated in demonstrations, marches, and rallies. Colleges and universities were a huge part of this action. Americans truly came together in the name of the planet.
Since 1970, the annual Earth Day celebrations have grown. Nearly every city in the US participates in some way, driven by passionate non-profits, environmental organizations, students, teachers, and individuals.
This year, Native Sustainability will host its own Earth Day Cleanup at the Minnehaha Falls Off-Leash Dog Park! For us, this day is about gathering together to focus on the health of the planet and the animals living on it, including humans. By doing this, we seek to build momentum in our community to continue environmental action throughout the rest of the year.
Join us for our dog park cleanup!*
Saturday, April 20
5399 Minnehaha Park Dr S, Minneapolis, MN 55417
*Dog ownership is not necessary for humans to attend! All are welcome, including dogs if you own them. We will meet by the entrance of the dog park and will provide gloves and bags.