On April 22nd, the United States observes Earth Day, a day for celebrating our planet. And it is also a day intended to raise awareness about a wide range of environmental issues and problems that still need to be dealt with, and to inspire people to take personal action to address them.
The first Earth Day celebration took place in 1970. Earth Day founder, the late Senator Gaylord Nelson said that "the objective was to get a nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake the political arena. It was a gamble, but it worked. An estimated 20 million people participated in peaceful demonstrations all across the country."
As a direct result of the success of that first Earth Day, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was established in 1970, and later that year the Clean Air Act was enacted. Then in 1970, the Clean Water Act became law, followed three years later by the Endangered Species Act. "We have made remarkable progress," said President Barack Obama in a video statement released on April 13th. "Today, our air and water are cleaner, pollution has been greatly reduced, and Americans everywhere are living in a healthier environment:"
"But the true story of the environmental movement is not about the laws that have been passed. It's about the citizens who have come together time and time again to demand cleaner air, healthier drinking water and safer food – and who have demanded that their representatives in government hold polluters accountable.
That progress continues today, as individuals and entrepreneurs across the country help lay the foundation for a Clean Energy Economy – one solar panel, smart meter and energy efficient home at a time."
In conjunction with his video message, meant to challenge Americans to take action to improve the environment, President Obama unveiled an on-line resource guide for those interested in learning how they can help make a difference in their community. This guide can be found at WhiteHouse.gov/EarthDay.
"Even though we've made significant progress, there is much more to do," said President Obama. " And it's going to be up to you to make an even bigger difference over the next 40 years.
"So let’s get to work. Together, we can continue to make progress towards a cleaner environment and a healthier planet."