Conmemorating Earth Day

Conmemorating Earth Day

Photo from Fateme Alaie on Unsplash

Last Thursday marked the fifty-first anniversary of Earth Day, a decades long tradition with roots in the beginning of the modern day environmental movement.

In 1969, San Francisco, John McConnell proposed the concept of Earth Day at a UNESCO conference. McConnell was a peace activist, whom at the time was known for advocating for meal campaigns, public speaking, and his “Minute for Peace” campaign after the assassination President John F. Kennedy.

In the late ‘60s McConnell’s concern for the environment grew, and he believed that people had the moral obligation of caring for nature and the environment. 

Earth Day was meant to commemorate peace on the world, and raise awareness about the ecological concerns facing the country at the time. 

Earlier in 1969, a Santa Barbara oil rig spilled thousands of gallons into the water, killing tens of thousands of wildlife. It was then when Senator Gaylord Nelson of California felt the need to raise awareness to caring for the Earth. 

The spill and loss of wildlife caused the mobilization of many environmental activists, who protested policies and conditions that regularly put ecosystems in jeopardy. Many of the front line activist at the Santa Barbara oil spill protests were later the co-founders of Earth Day, coming together to commemorate their love and care for the past environment.

In 1970, Denis Hayes was hired to be the organizer of the first ever Earth Day. Originally, the goal was to make it a national teach-in about commemorating nature and the Earth. On the actual day however, 20 million came out to the streets and protested, which is to this day the largest single day protest in human history. 

Decades later people still celebrate the day, posting photos on social media, protesting, attending summits, and raising awareness about the same dangers that still face our world today. 

This year, the Biden administration organized an international Climate Summit to discuss and learn about the impacts of global warming. 

During the event, President Joe Biden pledged to lower U.S. gas emissions in half by 2030. “Scientists tell us that this is the decisive decade, this is the decade we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of a climate crisis,” said Biden.

The Biden administration has promised a complete structure change, in the industry and in climate change policies, in order to tackle the impending impacts that global warming and pollution will have on us and our environment. These pledges will hopefully, just be the beginning of a long battle against the many dangers our environment currently faces.


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