50 Years of Earth Day: The Health of Our Planet and Our Own Health are One and the Same

by Our Friends at LiveThrive Atlanta

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

On April 22, 1970 – the first Earth Day in history– over 20 million Americans took to the streets to protest America’s inaction to combat the damaging effects of 150 years of industrial development. It was a uniting cry for all Americans, regardless of zip code or political affiliation, realizing the health of our people mirrors the health of our planet. Today, Earth Day is celebrated in over 190 countries, connecting us globally to promote human behaviors and policies that protect and enrich our natural resources, combat our climate crisis and realize a zero-carbon future.

A series of events sparked the first Earth Day, galvanizing the nation into action. The 1962 publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller ‘Silent Spring’ exposed the dangerous effects of pesticides to environmental and human health. Soon after, a 1969 record-breaking oil spill in California received national attention as it killed thousands of birds and sea mammals, leaving even more doused in oil. Later that same year, Cuyahoga River in Cleveland erupted into flames, exposing the dire state of the pollution of the waterway. Within six months, people all over the country were rallying for change on Earth Day.

Earth Day was the catalyst for the modern environmental movement. This directly led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in late 1970 as well as the Clean Air Act, Water Quality Improvement Act, Endangered Species Act, Toxic Substances Control Act, and Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act– all passed under a Republican administration in the 1970s.

On the 50th anniversary of this important day, Live Thrive and CHaRM are more committed than ever to create real, positive environmental change. Every item you bring to CHaRM helps ensure that hazardous materials do not poison our lands and waters. Every conversation you start about something you learned through Live Thrive ignites a fire in someone else to make a change, find a solution, and fight for stronger protections. As we celebrate this milestone in the environmental movement, it is a reminder that this is everyone’s fight – and that the health of our planet and our own health are one and the same.