A personal missive on the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day Wednesday April 22nd
This past issue of AARP had an excellent look back at the first Earth Day through the eyes of one of the key student staff and founders, now 75 years old Dennis Hayes. That article is attached here in a PDF. You can review the history of Earth Day at this link; https://www.earthday.org/history/50th Anniversery of Earth Day April 20, 2020.pdf
Now some history that will age me very quickly with many of you;
At the time the planning was beginning for our first ever Earth Day on April 22nd 1970 as described in the attached article we were just
7-months past the August 15-18 1969 Woodstock Celebration and the killing of 4 Vietnam student protesters at Kent State 13 days in the future on May 4th 1970. These 2 events occurred while 76 million "Baby Boomer's" born between 1944-64 filled our colleges and high-schools.
High-school is where my personal interaction with Earth Day began. I was a 17 year old graduating Senior at Buena High-school in Sierra Vista Az and enrolled in an advanced biology class led by a Mr. Berringer. He (we) became aware of the planning for this first ever Earth Day and he encouraged the class to seriously engage in some fashion. What quickly evolved was myself and Doreen Ward taking on the mantles of Co-Chairs of a 30 minute all student assembly hall following lunch on April 22nd. The entire class along with some help from our HS thespian club came up with a couple of skits and we had large posters on stage. I asked the Coronado National Memorial Superintendent to be our invited 10 minute guest speaker, his name evades me but he did a great job and got applause. I recall the first skit had large people sized yellow daisies coming out and withering away under dark clouds of smog. Of course the 2nd skit had the daisy's coming to life under a cloud of clean rain and then the bright sun come out smiling on a cleaned up and very blue healed earth who danced across the stage...............
It was a grand time of promise for we budding "environmentalists". I had been accepted to the University of Arizona College of what became in 1974 Renewable Natural Resources as an undergraduate wildlife biology student. I had chosen a wildlife degree after reading both Rachael Carson's 1962 Silent Spring and Aldo Leopold's 1949 Sound County Almanac and spending a single day at work with an Az Game & Fish District Wildlife Manager at the age of 15 when I received my Eagle Scout award. What followed was 6 long years at the UA to complete my BS during which time the Vietnam War ended on April 30th 1975. Also during the early-mid 70's landmark environmental legislation like the Clean Air/Water Acts and the Endangered Species Act occurred all signed by Republican Richard Nixon.
My wildlife career with the AGFD from 77-97 was exciting and rewarding as it was and is an outfit out to do right by it's mission of "Managing Wildlife for Tomorrow". As we as a Board and national organization come face to face with what the science is telling us is climate change and feeling the need to have an affect I'm reminded of 19th century Sir Patrick Geddes statement "Think Globally but act Locally". I believe our affiliates practice this every single project or event that they conduct and it behooves us to continue to do the same.
Happy 50th Earth Day!