In an age where Earth Day is celebrated throughout the world, at least by environmental enthusiasts, it is somewhat hard to understand that it was considered a radical idea in 1970. Before The Clean Air Act, The Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act were passed and the Environmental Protection Agency was founded, Denis Hayes, a graduate student at Harvard, organized the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, with the blessing of Gaylord Nelson, a United States Senator from Wisconsin. In that year, 20 million people participated in a variety of activities to call attention to the earth.
Earth Day celebrations have changed a lot over the years, and thanks to the hard work of EarthShare Georgia’s local member groups, and those throughout the nation, environmental awareness has been heightened and significant improvements have been made to care for our natural resources. As we grapple today with the effects of climate change that not only impact our air, land and water and wildlife, but the communities in which we live, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020 takes on a new face.
Just a few months ago, some of our board and advisory council members, as well as a few sustainability leaders, were interviewed for our film on environmental sustainability as a celebration of this important day, produced by Greg Harding Films, and funded by the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. Little did we know at the time that COVID-19 would prevent us from holding our annual Earth Day events, but the messages of those interviewed are still relevant. Many thanks to Jami Buck-Vance, Michael Halicki, John Lanier, Andrea Pinabell, Nathaniel Smith, Jerry Travers, Trecinia Wiggins, Moniqua Williams and Michelle Wiseman for participating in the interviews. We hope you will enjoy the film and share it with others. And while we have had to postpone our spring celebrations, Every Day is Earth Day, and we hope you will join us in person in a few months.
So on this 50th anniversary of Earth Day, I am feeling grateful for all I have, especially the glorious spring with a new clarity of color and light in nature, the sweet songs of the birds, and the ability I have to get outside and take long walks. And on this 50th anniversary of Earth Day, let’s be thankful for everyone working on the frontlines to save lives and doing jobs that may risk their health and safety every day.
Thank you for supporting EarthShare Georgia and the role we play in connecting people to the environment and the great work of our member groups. You mean everything to us as we work hard to fulfill our mission in these challenging times.
All the best,
Madeline Reamy, Executive Director