“We have much to learn by studying nature and taking the time to tease out its secrets.”
– David Suzuki
On Friday, April 22nd, we will celebrate the 46th Earth Day. Earth Day, which began in 1970, was created to draw attention to environmental issues, such as agricultural suitability, climate change, ecological preservation, biodiversity, and green energy. Since the first event, Earth Day has stretch across the globe, bringing together over a billion people. Prairie State College has taken the month of April to focus on sustainability, hosting a number of events on campus.
This Earth Day will be a proud moment for the global community as 120 nations, including the U.S. and China, will sign the Paris Climate Agreement, a promise to decrease greenhouse gas admissions and a commitment to the reversal of global climate change.
The Prairie State Library has several titles on sustainability and issues relating to climate change. Check out what you can study and discover nature’s secrets:
Careers in green technology and sustainable development are rapidly growing. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics has projected a 21% growth from 2010 to 2020. This job growth cuts across several labor fields with opportunities for every type of student. Explore the multitude of options and start planning for your future!
Davenport, Coral. “Nations Approve Landmark Climate Accord in Paris.” The New York Times. December 12, 2015. Accessed April 21, 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/13/world/europe/climate-change-accord-paris.html.
Earth Day Network. “Our Mission.” Earth Day Network. Accessed April 21, 2016. http://www.earthday.org/
Kirk, Karin and Monica Bruckner. “The Workforce for a Sustainable Future.” InTeGrate. Accessed April 21, 2016. http://serc.carleton.edu/integrate/programs/workforceneeds/workforce_overview.html
[Earth Day was created] to inspire a public demonstration so big it would shake the political establishment out of its lethargy and force the environmental issue onto the national political agenda
-Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI) 1970
For many people Earth Day is a chance to think about what being mindful of the how the things that they do impacts the Earth as well as giving them a chance to try and lessen their impact on the environment. During this time several organizations and government agencies promote events around Earth Day, including right here Prairie State College, where during the month of April, you can always find a Sustainability Event to attend. But this begs the question … How Did Earth Day Start?
Although Earth Day has an actual origin date (April 22, 1970), several contributing factors led to its actual start. In the 1960s, technology in the United States had increased the amount of media coverage which the average citizen had access to. Because of this, events such as the Santa Barbara Oil Spill and the Cuyahoga River Blaze now became visible and the human impact on the environment could be easily seen by any person. Also by the 1970s, activists such as Rachel Carson had published her landmark book Silent Spring and Secretary of Interior Stewart Udall had published The Quiet Crisis. Additionally, by this time Congress had enacted the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission and President Kennedy had taken his Natural Resources Tour. So, rather than a starting point of an the environmental movement in the United States, the beginnings of Earth Day represented the moment in time when environmentalism entered the mainstream.
Having spoken on environmental issues … during the twelve years before Earth Day, I knew the public was far ahead of the political establishment in its concern for what was happening to the environment. The signs of degradation were everywhere – polluted rivers, lakes, beaches, oceans, and air.”
The actual celebration of Earth Day began with Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-Wi) who, inspired by the anti-Vietnam demonstrations and “teach-ins” decided that it would beneficial to the public to set a large-scale teach-in to educate the general public about the importance of environmental issues. He chose the date, April 22nd, to coincide with Arbor Day, and so that it would not interfere with Finals Week at college campuses. Although the day was set up by Nelson along with Republican Representative Paul McCloskey, it was really the efforts of Denis Hayes, an environmentalist student who together with the group Environmental Action worked, to coordinate the day.
Earth Day 1970 made it clear that we could summon the public support, the energy, and commitment to save our environment. And while the struggle is far from over, we have made substantial progress.”
During the first Earth Day, nearly two thousand colleges and universities, ten thousand high schools, and grade school and several thousand communities participated. The estimated total number of Americans that were actively engaged in the day ranged in the 20 millions. Throughout cities such as New York, San Fransisco and Chicago, large crowds gathered to hear speeches from politicians, poets and ecologists. Students in Washington D.C. attended a concert held in front of the Washington Monument. Colleges and Universities held programs such as “wreck-ins” or tree planting. The University of Wisconsin, alone, held fifty-eight separate programs for the event and Senator Thomas McIntrye (D-NH) set the record for most speeches given in a day with 14.
Since the 1970s, the celebration of Earth Day has embedded and flowed, depending on the administration in power. But as you sit back on the 45th anniversary of its beginning, think about what the importance of the day means to yourself, and how you can better help the only planet we have. With that in mind, stop down at the library this month and check out some of these great titles we have on display.
This Month we a putting up a New Books display with a lot of great reads! One book worth mentioning here is Modern Piracy by David F. Marley. This book discusses contemporary world issues and one issue that is causing major disturbances to world commerce is modern piracy. We all know about the pirates of the Caribbean and perhaps the Barbary pirates who caused much damage in the Atlantic and Mediterranean but these modern pirates are much more civilized, tech-savvy, armed, elusive, and dangerous. Besides this great book we have many good reads in our New Books Display this month.
On April 22, people around the globe will be celebrating the 41st Earth Day!
Are you thinking that one day is not enough time to recognize the importance of the earth’s health to every aspect of our lives? Well, lots of people agree with you and have stretched Earth Day into a week long celebration! Check out the activities happening around the college on the PSC Sustainability page and join in!
Ok, so you’re still thinking one week is way too little time to figure out how to avert climate change, develop clean energy, create sustainable agriculture, or learn how to cook organic foods? Stop by the library to browse our Earth Week display, and check out a book that will give you the tools to affect the future of our planet!