Earth Day, the brain child of Senator Gaylord Nelson, was first celebrated on April 22, 1970 in many large American cities. Up until that point the serious environmental issues faced worldwide were largely unknown by the general public. In 1990 Earth Day became a global event as the rest of the world took up the challenge to save the earth for the future. A rising awareness in concerns for the well being of our planet and how it affects all our futures was noted after that first Earth Day.
A great result of that first Earth Day besides increased awareness was that pieces of legislation were enacted that worked toward improving our air, water, and endangered species among other things. We moved toward controlling toxic substances in our environment. In December 1970 the U.S. established the Environmental Protection Agency to safeguard the natural environment and our planet’s health. Awareness of the fragility of our environment was raised and we responded as a world. Recognizing that our health and well being and the lives of future generations were dependent on our actions we answered the call.
But whose job is it to take steps to improve the quality of the world we live in? It is the responsibility of every person to make a contribution to that end. We talk about recycling, conserving water and energy, planting flowers and vegetables. How much of this do we really do?
We drink water out of recyclable plastic bottles. How many of those bottles go into the recycle bin? On a particularly hot summer day how many of us raise that thermostat to cool off the house just a little more? Baths use less water than showers. Do you run the water while brushing your teeth? Using cloth bags rather than the plastic at the grocery store is another step you can take.
Most important, teach your children! We can leave it to them but f they don’t know how to care for it anything we have to do to make the earth better is wasted effort. Encourage your child’s school to celebrate Earth Day and to incorporate responsible ecological behaviors into their lessons.
It’s wonderful that governments have shown some interest in ecological responsibility. There are still companies that are more concerned with making money than with doing the right thing. Our responsibility is to refuse to do business with these companies.
It may be more expensive and more difficult to make changes. If we don’t the result will be disaster. The earth we will leave our children will not be the earth we inherited. Instead their inheritance will be a world with pictures of animals that have become extinct, waters polluted with chemicals, and air filled with poisons. It’s time to step up our efforts to make changes.