When I received a Public Service Announcement request from the Space Coast Progressive Alliance for their "Sustaining Our Precious Planet" event to be held Thursday, April 4th, my mind wandered back to the origination of Earth Day.
The birth of the modern environmental movement is commonly recognized as having coincided with the very first Earth Day - April 22, 1970. United States Senator Gaylord Nelson helped mobilize a grass-roots movement that was already underway by calling upon concerned students, citizens, politicians and individual communities nationwide to participate in a day to champion environmental issues.
According to Earth Day Network's website:
As a result, on the 22nd of April, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.
It's hard to imagine such an enormous and determined coming together of like-minded people without the present day digital tools of social media at their fingertips. Without having harnessed the energy of the anti-war movement's activism and "flower-power" consciousness-raising of the 1960's, I doubt that the movement towards environmental protections and legislation would have begun with such fierce momentum.
Who would have ever guessed that forty-three years later, what once was a non-partisan agenda towards sustainability for the sake of all mankind would devolve into an on-going debate over the veracity of climate change? But let's not despair; the planet needs us and Earth Day is alive and well.
You can get an early start on your Earth Day agenda by attending the Space Coast Progressive Alliance's First Thursday Program on April 4th at 6:30 p.m. Titled "I.D.E.A.S. for our Environmental Future - Sustaining Our Precious Planet", the event takes place at Front Street Civic Center, 2205 S. Front Street, Melbourne. Special guest speaker is Chris Castro, Co-founder and Executive Director of I.D.E.A.S. (Intellectual Decisions on Environmental Awareness Solutions.) Castro and his team will share information about climate change and clean energy solutions. The event is free and open to the public.
Perhaps someday we'll all get aligned with NASA's "Everyday Is Earth Day" consciousness. In the meantime, let's continue the slow but necessary march towards responsible stewardship of Mother Earth.