A lot of things happened in 1970.

 

Two other events took place in 1970. On 21 March, the first Earth Day proclamation was issued by San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto, and on 22 April, the first Earth Day was celebrated in the U.S.

The March celebration was to be in conjunction with the Vernal Equinox, which was on 21 March that year. John McConnell, the founder of the Vernal Equinox celebration of Earth Day, is a very devout Catholic. He wanted to celebrate the earth with Saint Francis, hence the inaugural celebration in the city of Saint Francis, San Francisco.

The 22 April celebration is by far the more often mentioned Earth Day celebration. It was founded by then U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin in the United States. Senator Nelson was profoundly affected by an oil spill the previous year in Santa Barbara, California. He also knew that the youth of America would join him in efforts to curb pollution of the land, water, air and our environment in general. The first Earth Day was a success with 20 million participants. Twenty years later, in 1990, Earth Day went global with events in 200 million people participating in 141 nations. This year, 2012, as many as One Billion People in more than 175 countries will participate.

The theme for Earth Day this year is Sustainable Energy.

The oil we use is finite. We must find a renewable replacement for it. To produce the electricity that we need for both today and the future, we must develop ways to harness the elements. George Westinghouse harnessed Niagara Falls to use water to turn electric generators over a hundred years ago. Wind Farms can harness the winds. Solar panels can turn sunlight into electricity. Geothermal energy can be used to turn electric generators as well. But that’s not enough. We need to add and increase these energy sources in our daily lives.

We’re addicted to oil, coal and nuclear energy. The price of oil, as a commodity, is often artificially inflated through speculation, yet governments are failing to control the markets to protect the consumers. Oil is also not clean.

The United States alone has at least 100 years of coal reserves, but 100 years is a mere moment when compared to the age of the Human Race. Rather than tout the availability, we should be working towards replacing it. Like oil, coal is not clean.

Nuclear energy was heralded as the energy of the future, yet the radioactive waste that nuclear power plants produce is a problem much larger than most nations can handle. As we saw with the double whammy of the earthquake followed by the tsunami tidal wave last year, Japan lost one of their nuclear generating facilities and a considerable amount of land surrounding it. Three Mile Island, near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in the United States, had a partial melt down of one of its two reactors in 1979. The reactor is still out of service and it has yet to be dismantled. Studies showed that cancer and infant mortality rates down-wind of the plant far surpassed the rates up-wind of the facility. We can only guess what Japan is in for in the next five years. Just the problem of disposing of the spent fuel rods is enough to make nuclear power a poor choice. It is the dirtiest of all fuels.

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We have the answers available to us. All we have to do is find inexpensive and viable ways to switch from the dirty fuels that we have now and become totally powered by the renewable wind, sun, water, and heat from the earth itself. This Earth Day, and every day, work towards helping your community to develop, adopt and adapt to clean, environmentally friendly and Sustainable Energy. Our futures depend on it. Show the world that you are part of the 2012 goal of A Billion Acts of Green®.

Published April 1, 2012

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