In 1969, then-US Senator Gaylord Nelson decided to have an environmental teach-in as a reaction to the degradation of the environment. He chose April 22, 1970, for very practical reasons: He wanted to have it on college campuses and figured it was late enough in the spring to have good weather, it was midweek so it wouldn't conflict with other events and there generally weren't exams or spring breaks scheduled.
It has the added bonus of being the day after John Muir's - noted environmentalist and founder of the Sierra Club - birthday and is the actual birthday of a person many call the world's first environmentalist - St. Francis of Assisi.
People from 2000 colleges and universities, around 10,000 primary and secondary schools and hundreds of communities across the country participated in the first Earth Day, and Nelson credited the momentum from that demonstration for the passing of the Clean Air Act in 1970 as well as the creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency that same year.
The New York Times reported on Friday that just in time for Earth Day, Congress declared carbon dioxide and five other heat-trapping pollutants as dangerous to public health, which may lead to them being regulated for the first time in US history. Gee, it only took an act of Congress to confirm what most people already know. But it's a step in the right direction, one that should promote reforms in policy and, hopefully, a healthier Earth.
Indonesia and South Korea announced they are investing in alternative energy to turn seaweed into biofuel and reduce emissions, according to MSNBC.com. I'm not really a science person, but I think this is pretty cool. And anything that gets countries less dependent on oil and cleans up the environment, I'm all for.
King 5 News out of Seattle has a story that's a follow up to a related post of mine from yesterday. It's all about the benefits and positive outcomes of volunteer vacations. And something I found on Facebook is a video follow up to a story I found awhile ago on Faith, the two-legged dog. This is a segment from Oprah and not only interviews her family members, but shows home video of Faith.
This one is a little random, but it is animal-related and kinda fun. China's official news outlet Xinhua reported on a pod of dolphins who foiled a Somali pirate attack on a Chinese ship. Little smarty-pants. : )
A last thought... the Fort Worth Star-Telegram did a big story today on a local high school science teacher who founded America's longest-running high school ecology studies program. He was recently forced to retire after being diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease, but his passion for ecology and the environment has inspired generations of students.
The photo above is of Senator Gaylord Nelson (photo credit: wikipedia)