Earth Day 2021: Restore the Earth

The first Earth Day was in 1970. About 20 million Americans (10% of the population!) peacefully demonstrated that day express their concern about the state of the country’s environment. In early 1969, there had been a huge oil spill off Santa Barbara, California, which even today is the third-largest in US history (after the Deepwater Horizon and the Exxon Valdez). Also, in 1969, the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio, burned.

The founder of Earth Day was Gaylord Nelson, a Democrat from Wisconsin (the “Conservation Governor”) and his co-chair for the 1969 event was Pete McCloskey, a California Republican.

The concern expressed on the first Earth Day is widely considered to have led to the passage of multiple federal environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the legislation creating the EPA, among many others, all signed by President Richard Nixon.

We have continued to make progress (sometimes more, sometimes less) on the environment that we can easily see. Now it’s time to get down to some serious work on climate change. We need to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In the very immediate future, methane is particular problem, but in the longer term, the issue is CO2.

What can we all do to reduce GHGs? Eat less meat (try Meatless Mondays!), drive an electric car or a high-mileage hybrid, replace bulbs with LEDs, replace furnaces with heat-pumps, insulate buildings, and — most importantly! — tell legislators that the climate is important to you, not just today but EVERY DAY!