Photo credit: Live Science
Photo credit: New York Times
In 1962, Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring” awakened America to the downside of industrial development and the dangers of pesticides. It all began when a friend with a bird sanctuary wrote to Carson describing how all the birds were dying after DDT spraying took place. More than 500,000 people read Carson’s New York Times Bestseller. Meanwhile, the
pesticide industry tried to demonize Ms. Carson. She would not be silenced, and the seeds of an environmental movement took root across the nation.
On April 22, 1970, Earth Day was born. The effort was inspired by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, California Congressman Pete McCloskey, and a young activist named Dennis Hayes. On that day, 20 million Americans gathered in parks and auditoriums to demonstrate against unchecked industrial and environmental pollution and its growing legacy of damage to people, animals and the planet.
By the end of 1970, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was formed, and over the next several years, groundbreaking environmental laws were passed, including: the National Environmental Education Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.
By 1990, Earth Day had become a global movement. A decade later, Earth Day Network ensured that movement would continue despite climate deniers and public disinterest. Today, more than a billion people participate in Earth Day Network activities in more than 190 countries worldwide.
Learn what you can do at the Earth Day website: http://www.earthday.org/history.
Watch the Rachel Carson profile on PBS – American Experience pbs.org/video/american-experience-rachel-carson-silent-spring. Browse and order books by Rachel Carson at https://amzn.to/2VsWulz or find them at your local library.