Earth Day 2012: How will you celebrate?

Kids celebrating National River CleanupApril 22, 1970 – let’s take a walk down memory lane.  In the heart of flower power, Nixon’s presidency, the Vietnam War, the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency and the last Beatles’ album – the modern environmental movement was born.  Protest marked the landscape, but saving the planet was not high on the priority list. 

The tragic oil spill in January of 1969 off the coast of Santa Barbara, California caught America’s attention and Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin capitalized on this.  History was made as he hired staff and gained bipartisan support to organize Earth Day events throughout the nation on April 22, 1970.   “It was a gamble,” Senator Nelson recalled, “but it worked.”

According to Senator Nelson, “It was truly an astonishing grassroots explosion. For the first time people were given the opportunity to demonstrate their deep concern about what was happening in their own communities and across the nation – polluted air, rivers, lakes and oceans; health threatening hazardous wastes; urban blight; pesticide and herbicide poisoning of people, plants, birds and animals; the destruction of scenic beauty and wildlife habitats.”

Earth Day is now celebrated worldwide.  According to Earth Day Network over 1 billion people in over 192 countries currently participate in Earth Day.  Today we face an uphill battle in our fight to protect this planet that we love. 

Senator Nelson established this movement during political turmoil of the 70s and it is imperative we continue fighting to protect and restore our nation’s rivers. The significance of this holiday is built upon the rich history of its birth and in the ways we continue to celebrate on April 22, 2012.

Earth Day 2012 is on April 22. How will you celebrate it? 

National River Cleanup® provides an opportunity to clean your river.  Visit our map to find a river cleanup in your backyard!

Visit an Aveda salon near you, proceeds from Earth Month support organizations fighting for your clean water.  If you live in Maryland, Delaware, most of Virginia or Washington, DC, donations directly benefit American Rivers.

Take action on behalf of your clean water – visit the American Rivers website for more opportunities.

And last but not least, get outside and volunteer with the people you love in honor of the planet you love.

Happy Earth Day 2012 – enjoy the throwback news report highlighting the first Earth Day in 1970!