Like bambeco itself, Earth Day was born from a life-changing event and a just-right atmosphere among the population. Earth Day was the brainchild of US Senator Gaylord Nelson after an oil spill in 1969 devastated Santa Barbara, California. Nelson felt that if he could apply the passion of the war protests of the 1960s to issues facing the environment he could make a true difference.
Before the first Earth Day in 1970 the environment was of little concern to most people. Industry was booming, vehicles were over-sized and inefficient, and pollution was a commonality. However, Nelson gathered a team of like-minded citizens and built a team dedicated to raising awareness about dangers facing the environment.
Nelson received rare support from both sides of the political aisle, which helped the first Earth Day achieve exceptional success. On April 22, 1970 20 million citizens joined in demonstrations and protests across the country. In addition to uniting both political parties, Nelson’s new day brought together those fighting for various environmental causes like oil spills, pollution, wildlife conservation, and more, and formed a united front in the fight for the planet.
The lasting effects of Nelson’s efforts are still felt today, not only every April 22nd. The first Earth Day was instrumental in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts, among others. In 1995, Nelson received the highest civilian honor in the country, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from President Bill Clinton for his role in creating Earth Day.
Since then, Earth Day celebrations have grown in size and frequency across the country. Conservation and sustainability are no longer unknown causes and pollution is no longer accepted as the status quo. But, the work is not done and so we join people across the world in celebrating Senator Nelson’s vision while continuing to raise awareness of the ongoing issues facing the planet and working towards accessible, sustainable solutions.
Join us all month long for bambeco’s extended Earth April celebration. Learn more about challenges facing the environment, plus ways in which you can take part in the movement of sustainability from a cause to a way of life.