Remebering the First Earth Day
It was April 22, 1970. The first Earth Day.
Things were definitely different back then. Gasoline was fully leaded and cars choked the cities with their smokey blue exhaust fumes. Factories were belching up toxic pollutants. Garbage littered the highways, as people thought nothing of tossing trash right out the window.
But Earth Day was not much more than a footnote in the local paper that first year. There were much bigger stories in the news. The Beatles had just recently announced they were breaking up. The Apollo 13 astronauts had just miraculously returned safely to earth.
But I do remember our teachers recognizing Earth Day and bringing the problems of pollution to our classrooms. I recall their lessons and the start of our early recycling efforts.
Things changed slowly. The following year in 1971 this famous PSA aired on TV.
And it wasn't long after that Woodsy the (animated) Owl was also admonishing us to "Give a hoot, don't pollute!"
Flash Forward nearly 50 years later to 2018. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the twice the size of Texas and floats aimlessly in "international waters" - meaning it's nobody's responsibility. Actually, it is everybody's responsibility.
It's time to do more than just commemorate with a one-day observance.
We should all be crying. We're still screwing it up. And we have no one to blame but ourselves. The earth deserves better.