What started as a teach-in has flowered into an international phenomenon. Earth Day will be celebrated around the world Tuesday.
The observance was first held in 1970, the idea of Sen. Gaylord Nelson, a Democrat from Wisconsin, who took the idea from the Vietnam war opposition movement and the proliferation of teach-ins during that time, according to the Earth Day Network.
To plan the event, Nelson joined with Congressman Pete McCloskey, a Republican from California interested in conservation, and Denis Hayes, who was selected by Nelson to be the event’s national coordinator. Earth Day was described as “a national teach-in on the crisis of the environment,” according to the Gaylord Nelson website.
April 22 was chosen as the date for Earth Day because it was thought to fit best between colleges’ spring break and final exams.
The observance tapped into a growing awareness of environmental degradation in the U.S., including smog in large metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles and water pollution blamed for fish deaths in the Great Lakes, according to Jack Lewis of the EPA Journal.
A book written in 1962 would set the stage for the environmental awakening in the U.S.: Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. In her book, she took on the chemical industry by questioning the use of DDT, a powerful and persistent pesticide. The Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of the pesticide, a carcinogen, 10 years later, but “residues of concern from historical use still remain.”
The EPA was established in December 1970 by President Richard Nixon as part of the National Environmental Policy Act signed Jan. 1 that year. Congress passed the Clean Air Act the same year.
Within the decade, Congress would pass more key pieces of environmental legislation such as the Clean Water Act and Noise Control Act in 1972, the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1973, the Endangered Species Act in 1973 and the Toxic Substances Control Act in 1976.
By 1990, Earth Day celebrations became global in scope. According to the Earth Day Network, more than 1 billion people are involved in Earth Day activities each year, making it “the largest secular civic event in the world.”
In support and recognition that we all have to play our part in preserving the Earth, the Mayor will be celebrating Earth Day on April 22nd at 9:30 am, City Hall steps, with a press announcement. Mayor Quintana plans to announce new Environmental Commissioners, celebrate sustainability achievements to date, highlight this year’s tree planting work, and encourage Newark residents to recycle.
The Newark Conservancy for Earth day will have a series of workshops are held during the day, providing valuable information on various environmental issues. The event features a main stage of live entertainment, including musical groups and children’s entertainment, and activities for community residents to participate as well as vendors and exhibitors.
In addition, there is a youth education project. Along with the help of hundreds of volunteers, local schools coordinate an environmental project in the park. Past events have included the construction of a trail, creation of a habitat enhancement, and most recently, litter cleanup and shoreline restoration planting. Children are also able to participate in a variety of game activities with environmental themes.
At Rutger Newark, the students and faculty participate in earth day. This spring’s Earth Day activities will take place on April 22 and 23, 2014.
April 22nd at the Norman Samuels Plaza: two sessions: 10:30 a.m. – 12 noon, and 12:30- 2 p.m.
We will be improving the sustainable gardens on the Norman Samuels Plaza and at University Square. Bring your enthusiasm for gardening, for ecology, for sustainable living, and you’ll work with professional gardening staff from the Greater Newark Conservancy to help beautify our campus. Wear casual clothes and shoes (no open toes please). Water and snacks will be provided.
April 23rd at the Greater Newark Conservancy (two shifts, 10- 11:30am or 12:30 – 2 p.m.)
Volunteer at one of the most beautiful places in our city — the Greater Newark Conservancy. Tour the gardens, learn about sustainability and help with planting. We’ll provide some snacks — you bring a water bottle. Wear casual clothing and shoes (no open toes please).
Additionally, this Earth Day, Newark residents are encouraged to empty their cluttered closets, drawers and garages and bring their old electronics to a free e-waste collection event. The event will take place at Peter Francisco Park, located between Edison Place and Ferry Street near Penn Station in Newark’s Ironbound District from 7:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.