Earth Day – A Few Facts About the People Behind It

redwood-trees-2Earth Day is about 4 days away.  But, who really started this conservation/ecology movement.  Well, in reality, it’s been going on for years.  Here’s a list of just a few conservationists and environmentalists.

  •  Earth Day was the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin.   He came up with the idea in 1969 after witnessing the devastation of the Santa Barbara, CA oil spill.  The impact on the environment, marine life, and the thousands of dolphins, sea birds and other animals due to this spill lead to Nelson’s drive to gather support for a political agenda.  Along with Senator Paul “Pete” McCloskey, Nelson introduced legislation and organized a grass-roots movement to bring environmental issues to the forefront of Americans’ minds.
  • John Muir was one of the very first conservationist and worked tirelessly to ensure that the wilderness would be preserved. His efforts led to the creation of Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park and more.  Muir was also one of the founders of the Sierra Club, one of the world’s most influential environmental groups. John Muir deeply influenced Theodore Roosevelt.
  • Theodore Roosevelt was an active conversationalist. He added 5 National Parks during his Presidential Term – Crater Lake National Park, Wind Cave National Park, National Game Preserve, Platt National Park, Mesa Verde National Park, and although he attempted to made the Grand Canyon a park, but lost, he did manage protect it by proclaiming the area a National Monument.
  • Rachel Carson is noted by some as the founder of the modern environmental movement.  She published a book in 1962 titled Silent Spring.  This described the devastating effects that pesticides have on the environment.  Although the chemical industry tried to indicate the claims were unfounded, they were later proved correct and DDT and other pesticides were banned in later years.
  • Henry David Thoreau was one of the very first activists for the environment.  He wrote a timely book entitled Walden, or A Life in the Woods. It is a must read for all environmentalist.  Thoreau wrote it after spending 2 years living simply on the shore of Walden Pond.  It is a meditation on nature and life.
  • Ed Begly, Jr.  is well known for  his environmentalist ways.  He is one of the first, in the 1970s, to drive an electric car.  His house is powered by both wind and solar power.

So, what are you doing for Earth Day?


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