Chairman’s Blog — Jan/Feb 2020
A Half-Century of Encouraging Environmental Stewardship
We’re rapidly approaching the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22nd, but what is it exactly?
Earth Day was the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, a staunch environmentalist who hoped to provide unity to the grassroots environmental movement and increase ecological awareness. “The objective was to get a nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake the political establishment out of its lethargy,” Senator Nelson said, “and, finally, force this issue permanently onto the national political agenda.”
The 1962 publication of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring—about the effects of pesticides—is often cited as the beginning of the modern environmental movement in the U.S. Sustainability, organic eating and the “back-to-the-land” movement continued to gain steam throughout the 1960s.
The first Earth Day indeed increased environmental awareness in America, and in July of 1970 the Environmental Protection Agency was established by special executive order to regulate and enforce national pollution legislation. Earth Day also led to the passage of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act, and many other groundbreaking environmental laws soon followed.
On April 22, 1990, the 20th anniversary of Earth Day, more than 200 million people in 141 countries participated in Earth Day celebrations. Senator Nelson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton. (Senator Nelson died in 2005)
Earth Day has been celebrated on different days by different groups internationally. The United Nations officially celebrates it on the vernal equinox, which usually occurs about March 21. Earth Day 2020—the 50th anniversary—will be celebrated on April 22 in the U.S.
Today, the annual Earth Day activities are organized by Earth Day Network, whose mission is to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide. Growing out of the first Earth Day in 1970, Earth Day Network is the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, working with more than 75,000 partners in over 190 countries to drive positive action for our planet.
IFMA and Earth Day – Stay Tuned…
As the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day approaches, the time is long overdue for a global outpouring of energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to create a new environmental paradigm. Earth Day 2020 promises to be the catalyst that galvanizes an unparalleled global collaboration.
IFMA is working with the Sustainability Community (ESUS) to launch a new initiative to support Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary. A series of activities will be announced in the March/April issue of FMJ. Please participate in this important event.
As always, we hope you find the newsletter enlightening…