What Does Earth Day 2008 Mean To You

April 22nd, Earth Day 2008 is quickly approaching. It is hard to believe that Earth Day is turning 38 years-old. I remember hearing about Earth Day as a kid and having my own short-sided impressions of it. I imagined people all across the United States chaining themselves to trees and not showering. Well, as a kid you’re allowed to be stupid.

April 22, 1970 marked the first Earth Day. Approximately 20 million people celebrated that first event. A year to the date later William D. Ruckelshaus, the first EPA Agency Administrator, delivered a speech at the Ohio State University. In this speech he reflected back on what the first Earth Day meant:

“Last year some said there would never be another Earth Day. They saw concern for our environment as a fad, and claimed that the instant enthusiasm of an activist generation would soon flow elsewhere. I believe they were wrong. But why this second Earth Day? Is this second day of commitment only a repetition of what we have said and attempted before? I think not. I believe there are fundamental distinctions between our celebration of the earth a year ago and our commitment to its preservation now.”

Earth Day Wasn’t a Fad

In 1970, President Richard Nixon started by creating the EPA to protect the environment and public health. The 70’s began to see changes:

  • Amendments to the Clean Air Act
  • Restrictions on lead-based paint
  • The ban of DDT, a cancer-causing pesticide
  • The beginning of phasing out leaded gasoline
  • Passing of the Safe Drinking Water Act
  • Passing of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

In the 1980s:

  • The Superfund was created to clean up hazardous waste sites
  • Acid Rain began to grab peoples attention
  • The public got the right to know when toxic chemical were released
  • Homeowners were encouraged to test for radon gas
  • The banning of dumping sewage sludge and industrial waste into the ocean

Unfortunately, the 1980s ended with the Exxon Valdez oil spill. However, the 1990s jumped right back to it with:

  • More Clean Air Act Ammendments
  • The Pollution Prevention Act
  • The National Enviromental Education Act
  • The EnergyStar Program
  • The Food Quality Protection Act
  • The Clean Water Action Plan

Now in the 2000s we have seen additional steps to make cleaner school buses, restore forests, provide cleaner air and the recent announcement of the WaterSense Program.

What Does Earth Day Mean to You?

What does Earth Day 2008 mean to you? Do you still hold those stupid delusions I did as a kid? Are you an Earth Day participant? Do you make sure you take special steps to do an eco-friendly thing or two on Earth Day? There are all sorts of ideas out there.

How about this Earth Day Idea?

How about taking time on Earth Day 2008 to educate yourself on the impact you can make as an individual. Take a little time to learn what you can change and sustain on a daily basis to become more eco-friendly. Then commit yourself to accomplishing the things that you learn. There are hundreds of “individual” green decisions a day that can can be made. They just have to be made one by one and individual by individual.

Thirty-Seven years ago, William D. Ruckelshaus was right on the money when he concluded his speech that day with the following lines:

“Achieving the goal of a clean and healthy environment must be done by us all by every American. We can reach that goal in this decade. And in reaching it we can trigger a chain reaction of confidence and hope that will help us to achieve all of our great goals for the seventies. Behind the issue of environmental protection we can unite every American, with no man as an adversary and no man as an antagonist. If every one of us will adopt the simple truth that “I can save the earth,” we will realize how much we can achieve together.”

So go out there and be that individual that says,

“I can save the earth”

or at least save it On Thursdays.

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One Response to “What Does Earth Day 2008 Mean To You”

  1. This is very comprehensive and useful information, I’m going to start checking out your site more often- do you mostly post every Thursday?