Monday, April 22, is Earth Day: a day to get out and get involved in making our planet better.
Inspired by a 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, Sen. Gaylord Nelson (D-WI) was the first to propose a “national teach-in” on environmental issues. With the help of Congressman Pete McCloskey (R-CA) and national coordinator Denis Hayes, Nelson promoted the very first Earth Day in 1970. Together, they mobilized more than 20 million Americans and organized massive rallies coast-to-coast. Earth Day brought together people from all walks of life: rich and poor; rural and urban; Republican and Democrat.
Earth Day also led to concrete changes, including the founding of the Environmental Protection Agency; and the passage of the Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act, and Clean Water Act. Globally, Earth Day 1990 helped pave the way for the 1992 UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Locally, Earth Day has inspired millions of people to plant trees, try composting, and cut back on their consumption. The cumulative effects are immeasurable.
If you want to get involved with Earth Day this year, check out these DC-area festivities:
Earth Month @ Union Station (April 1-30). Stop by to learn about sustainability at a series of free exhibits.
Anacostia Watershed Cleanup (April 20). Join the cleanup effort at one of several sites around the city. Cleanup starts around 9am (depending on the site); celebrations to follow. Click here to register for the cleanup.
Earth Day Party for the Planet @ The National Zoo (April 20). Take part in free crafts and other eco-friendly activities. Especially good for children. 11am-2pm.
Earth Day @ The National Aquarium (April 21). Learn how humans affect the lives of our aquatic friends; meet animals, play games, or make art. $10 adults, $5 children. 12-4pm at the DC Aquarium.
Earth Day on the Mall (April 20-22). Join thousands of eco-enthusiasts downtown for music, speakers, and more. Guests will include acts like Cheap Trick and Explorers Club, plus notables like the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Earth Day founder Denis Hayes. Special appearances by Captain Planet and Smoky the Bear.
If you’re interested in learning more about Earth Day and how you can make a difference, visit the EPA Earth Day guide, check out the Earth Day Network, or explore your own ecological footprint with the Earth Day Footprint Calculator.
Finally, check out one of Trinity’s many books on the topic and learn what it means to be green!