The world marks Earth Day annually on April 22. It was first commemorated in 1970 following tireless efforts by as Sen. Gaylord Nelson. Nelson was passionate about the safety of our environment and the issues people face to protect their surroundings. Even though 1960s and 70s was the peak of social activism, there was almost no piece of legislation to address environmental issues like pollution. As a senator, Nelson vowed to persuade the Congress to introduce laws that would protect the environment.
Nelson was frustrated as most of the leaders in Congress did not support the idea. He met resistance and an array of obstacles. He therefore turned to the public, sought their support on the matter, and adopted April 22 as the National Environmental Day. His intention was to convince politicians that human beings have significant impact on the environment. He achieved his goal, as more than 20 million Americans were part of the first Earth Day celebration. As a result, vote-hungry leaders could no longer give it a deaf ear; they paid attention. This humongous attention was paramount in making Americans and the rest of the World to focus on the environment. Earth Day popularity grew, becoming a global issue, with most countries around the world acknowledging the importance of protecting our environment.
In recent times, more people around the world have become aware of the need to take of the environment. This is partly because of the skyrocketing prices of essential items like food and petroleum products. Both rich and poor feel its impact, giving it greater global significance. Many leaders and a greater population understand the dangers of polluting the environment, including global warming. As such, there are consolidated efforts for people and organizations to make their contributions towards environmental protection and conservation.
Because of the Earth Day, which was first celebrated more than four decades ago, companies are playing their role by encouraging their employees to be sensitive about the environment. For example, they are turning to less usage of paper and embracing public transport for commuting to and from work. Additionally, there is an upsurge in the demand for hybrid car, which are environmental friendly as they use minimal fuel. On the other hand, the demand for posh guzzler cars has dropped. Americans are required by law to use Compact Fluorescent Lamp, following a law that was enacted in 2007. These efforts are important because they not only save the Earth but also save money.
Before Earth Day initiatives, the world gave almost no attention to environmental issues. For instance, it was almost legal for a factory to spew its waste in a stream of water. At that time, there were no mechanisms to regulate environmental pollution. However, today, the Environmental Protection Act, No Clean Air Act and No Clean Water Act have become vital legislation in conserving the environment. Since the launch of Earth Day in 1970, environmentalism is no longer a fringe issue; it has gained mainstream attention across the globe. In fact, about 80% of the American population describe themselves as environmentalists, courtesy of the efforts of Gaylord Nelson.
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