EARTH DAY is Sunday April 22, 2012. Every year on April 22 Earth Day is celebrated since it was started in the 1970's, thought to be the beginning of the environmental movement. Most protestors at that time were against the Vietnam war. But cars were gas guzzlers, air pollution was acceptable, and climate change had not been thought up. However, a woman named Rachael Carson had published a book called “Silent Spring” in 1962. It sold over 500,000 copies in 24 countries and alerted people to the dangers of pesticides accumulating in the earth and its food chains. She has to be given credit for bringing thoughtfulness about our environment to the public eye.
The actual creator of Earth Day was Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson after he witnessed the massive oil spills off the coast of Santa Barbara, Ca. He proposed a “National teach-in on the environment” to the media and accumulated staff and volunteers to promote various events on April 22. Twenty million Americans gathered and demonstrated for a healthy, sustainable environment in coast-to-coast rallies. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.
The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
In 1990 Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. President Bill Clinton awarded Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1995 -- the highest honor given to civilians in the United States -- for his role as Earth Day founder.
Earth Day 2000 had 5,000 environmental groups in a record 184 countries reaching out to hundreds of millions of people. Earth Day 2010 was focused on Earth Day Network which reconfirmed Earth Day as a powerful focal point around which people could demonstrate their commitment.
Mobilize the Earth. Earth Day. 4.22.12
On April 22, more than one billion people around the globe will participate in Earth Day 2012 and help Mobilize the Earth™. People of all nationalities and backgrounds will voice their appreciation for the planet and demand its protection.
Attend a local Earth Day event and join one of the Earth Day campaigns to elevate the importance of environmental issues around the world.
Share what you are doing for Earth Day: register your Earth Day events, put them on Facebook, or send a tweet.
And as you all know, my particular environmental interest revolves around nuclear awareness. We still are not sure of the far reaching effects of the Fukushima disaster. Dr. Helen Caldicott of Boston said if the number 4 nuclear reactor had a further meltdown and explosion of radioactive material she would evacuate her family to South America. There are further admissions of radioactive water being leaked into the ocean from the Fukushima site. The past Prime Minister Kan of Japan has stated he was not aware of how dangerous nuclear plants can be. He now wants all the plants closed in Japan and decommissioned. He reminds us that hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and cannot return to their homes because of this disaster.
Studies are now showing increased rates of cancer in certain of the populations residing next to nuclear reactors. 50% of the people polled around selected nuclear plants stated they had no idea what to do if the warning sirens went off. We may have to wait twenty years to see the full effects of the radiation released from Fukushima. Hopefully it will not be another Silent Spring.
Barbara Griffin Billig
Author: The Nuclear Catastrophe (a fiction novel of suspense) also published as:
THE DISQUIET SURVIVORS of The Nuclear Catastrophe
Follow on Twitter: @ barbarabillig
Available as THE DISQUIET SURVIVORS of The Nuclear Catastrophe in Paperback