Author:  Mike Hobig, Solar Education Chair

We just had Earth Week, Arbor Day and Earth Day got balled up with a lot of other celebrations that didn’t exactly have to being closer to the earth. Lately many corporate sponsors have green washed their plastic usage or carbon footprints with those sponsorships, one event had a solar panel array and it was announced that it was running the whole show on them but sadly it was not. Even though I loath to admit it these events do point the way to caring if you are careful enough to look at the core messages.

A bit of history about Earth Day, officially started in 1970 it was 50 years old in 2020. I have heard it was started in response to an oil spill off the west coast, also that it was started as a peace day and that Walter Reuther and the UAW helped fund the first one. There was a lot of talk back then that resonated into my childhood, back to the land, hippies, be kind to mother earth, don’t be a litter bug, give a hoot don’t pollute.

I remember a commercial about a kid who new a secrete place in the forest, trees grow there…. he knew of a secrete place at the river, fish lived there, he knew of a place call the sky, birds flew there…. then they showed a place he new and houses grew there, stark and baron, heavy equipment, no living things……

Another commercial, the crying Indian, trash all around, that was the time of the Hudson River clean ups and rivers that were so polluted with industrial waste they burned. It was easy to see that there were serious problems.

Those of you who know me see that I was shaped by those times, tending toward gardens and doing my best to live lighter, greener if you will. I guess I still have a way to go, my living leans large on the plant and resources but we all can do what we can.

One of our members started a thread of letters asking where were you on the first Earth Day, some knew exactly where they were others not so much, some of us were very young. We did a clean up and we social distanced, I doctored up a picture to include, I hope you enjoy the comments gleaned from remembering when. If you get a chance, do something nice for you and the planet, live deliberately and the best you can.

The Old Farmers Almanac had a nice overview along with activities to do at this web site:

https://www.almanac.com/content/earth-day-date-activities-history

 

Here is the Question followed by our many responses:   Where were you on the first Earth Day in 1970?

I was in school, in 6th grade.

I remember there was much concern about the environment at the time, and Earth Day was a big deal. Today is Earth Day for this year. Area parks usually invite the public to clean-up events to honor the spirit of the day. That’s not happening this year, due to Covid-19, but you can still get outside on your own and pick up the trash in your neighborhood or local park. Be safe! Wear your mask, don’t pick up anything with your bare hands, and stay away from others. If you can’t get outside today, do it when you can. You’ll get some exercise and others will appreciate what you do.  And you might be interested in the 50/50 Challenge.

Earth Day was a big day in the Girl Scouts.  In the 1970’s, our troop even designed our own “Ecology Badge.”  The word of the decade was “Ecology.”  It seemed to go along with peace signs and Pete Seeger.  

Sorry, I was 12 in 1970 and I don’t remember doing anything in school that day.

I was in grade school. We picked up trash around the school.

I was in kindergarten and my brother had this cool ecology flag sticker for his bike trailer…….

“Thanks for asking about first memories of Earth Day.

I would have been a few weeks shy of my 11th birthday in April 1970. My earliest memory of Earth Day and environmental activism was attending a festival in Piermont NY with my mom, dad, and sisters.  A big sailboat named “the Sloop Clearwater” was docked there on the west shore of the Hudson River. I seem to remember seeing lots of colorful and energized people and music and a guy about as old as my father named Pete Seager playing banjo and singing.

Growing up in the Hudson Valley. I learned at that early age how polluted the river was. 

I feel so grateful for those aware souls who spoke up, and for all those people (yes and politicians) in the USA and around the world who recognized the problems of pollution and did a lot to reduce those problems.  

Today some of us still recognize the need for ongoing Earth Awareness and the need for commitment and action to avoid to environmental catastrophes from plastics, trash and global warming.

Peace & Love “

I attended the first Earth Day ‘happening’ at Wayne State.  I was impressed by the message of the speakers.  I hung out with some friends until it was over and was dismayed by all the litter of flyers and leaflets left flying in the breeze.  I thought to myself that we had a long way to go.  Unfortunately, we still do.   

I don’t remember hearing about Earth Day in 1970. That was my first year at Marquette University after transferring from St. Norbert College in DePere Wisconsin. The day probably started off with us barely staying awake in the eight a.m. controls class because we hung out at the Ardmore bar the night before. Then more engineering and math classes the rest of the day. Followed by trying to figure out how to solve the engineering problems assigned to us for that day.

I was fresh out of college and teaching high school French in a somewhat stinky paper mill town in Wisconsin.  On the morning of Earth Day 1970 we were all called to the gym for a program.  That was my first clue there was an environment movement.  After I moved to Ohio I became active with the Sierra Club.  And yes, thanks to EPA, some time later I went back and confirmed the air was no longer smelly in that little mill town.

I was a freshman at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. There was a march from the campus to downtown Milwaukee for a rally. I will point out the Earth Day was created by our great Senator Gaylord Nelson, who had kicked things off with a fiery speech he delivered in Milwaukee the night before.

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