Earth Day is 38 years young today. In 1970, the first Earth Day was held as an event to increase public awareness of the world’s environmental problems. Millions of Americans, including students from thousands of colleges and universities, participated in rallies, marches, and educational programs.
Earth Day was the idea of Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, a staunch environmentalist who hoped to provide unity to the grassroots environmental movement and increase ecological awareness. Earth Day, indeed, increased environmental awareness in America, and in July of that year the Environmental Protection Agency was established to regulate and enforce national pollution legislation.
The infant agency was to be created from 15 different established agencies and parts of agencies already existing within the federal government. From a management point of view, the task was daunting: how to form a cohesive, integrated, functioning entity out of those different entities?
But create it they did, and today over 17,000 people are employed by the EPA to oversee its mission to protect human health and the environment.
The Earth is our home, and it deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. Two of the most eye-opening courses I took in undergrad were Physical Geography and Physical Geology. Those two classes contained a wealth of knowledge about the Earth and its component systems. When I had finished those courses, I knew I would never look at the Earth and how I related to it in the same way.
So, today, take a moment and think about how your actions impact this home – the only home – we will ever have. Treat the Earth with respect, learn about its cycles and its biomes, understand how it sustains, protects, and provides for us as we move in seasons around our Sun.
But, most of all, take action to make a difference. Every small change you make will lead to combined larger changes that will keep this planet a home of which we can be proud.
Photo credit: About.com