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By Mary Foran
It was in 1970 that a Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson, shocked by the ravages of the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill in California, started the Earth Day environmental movement that soon became a worldwide phenomenon.
Harnessing the hippie and anti-Vietnam War energies of the youth of the day, the Senator conducted teach-ins on air and water pollution and put environmental concerns onto the national political agenda.
The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and the Endangered Species Acts, with unprecedented Republican and Democratic support.
Some environmentalists celebrate Earth Day on the March Equinox, while others take the whole month of April to celebrate events based on environmental themes.
Typical ways of celebrating Earth Day include the planting of trees, picking up roadside trash, recycling and conservation programs, signing petitions for more government action, and joining the thousands who rally for the cause of a clean environment.
The Earth as seen from space, the beautiful blue and green planet we all share, is the usual symbol for Earth Day. It reminds us how precious our planet is, and how we all need to be conscientious stewards of the Earth’s limited resources.
>Featured image (broken seedling being tended by a child), by D. Sharon Pruitt of Pink Sherbet Photography (www.pinksherbet.com) . CC Attribution 2.0
>Earth Day 20, Sen. Edmund Muskie by 1970 Earth Week Committee of Philadelphia (http://earthweek1970.org ). CC BY-SA 3.0
Earth Day green and blue planet, Wikiimages, PD
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