Did you know that factories could once throw away toxic waste in local streams and actually get away with it? Before 1970, this was an unfortunate reality, reports the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Earth Day first debuted in April 1970. Later that year, Congress signed off on creating a new federal agency to address environmental issues like this and more – and the EPA was born.
In honor of this year’s upcoming Earth Day, which will be held on April 22nd, here's a quick history of the day, as well as a few suggestions for how you can get involved.
How it All Began
A US Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson, came up with the idea for a national day to bring attention to the environment after seeing the 1969 oil spill take place in Santa Barbara, CA, states the Earth Day Network.
Inspired by the student anti-war movement going on at the time, Senator Nelson saw an opportune moment to mix the deep-rooted passion with a rising concern about air and water pollution. Combining the efforts would naturally push environmental protection to appear on the national political agenda.
Senator Nelson recruited Congressman Pete McCloskey and Harvard’s Denis Hayes to help carry out Earth Day initiatives. Hayes put together a staff of 85 to boost awareness. The agreed date was April 22nd – right between Spring Break and Final Exams.
On the day of, millions of Americans organized in streets, parks and auditoriums to rally for a healthy, sustainable environment in large rallies from coast to coast. Organized protests took place on thousands of college campuses.
Different organizations fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife were now united by the same principles – thanks to Earth Day.
Later on in the year, congress passed the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.
Earth Day’s Evolution
By 1990, Earth Day had grown to a global movement of 200 million people from 141 countries. In 1995, President Clinton awarded Senator Nelson with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the most prestigious honor given to civilians, for his work in founding Earth Day.
Earth Day now is the largest secular observance in the world – involving more than one billion people a year. This year’s theme is Environmental & Climate Literacy. The network seeks to empower the world and motivate individuals to advocate for environmental protection.
Acts of Green
As part of the celebration, organizers encourage individuals to partake in "acts of green," small projects to support the environment and promote a greener world. To date, the network and its participants have logged more than 2 billion acts of green.
Here a few examples of activities/projects recommended by the network:
Plant a tree or donate to plant a tree
March for science
Eat less meat
Stop using disposable plastic
Create your own act of green
According to Earth Day organizers, individuals across the world use the equivalent of 1.5 planets worth of resources every year. Meaning, the demand on natural resources is currently being strained well beyond the supply. An alarming statistic in its own right, this number is forecast to rise to two planets worth of resources by 2050.
To reverse this trend, the Earth Day network encourages everyone to do their part to reduce the world's shared ecological footprint.
answers the call with solutions that help maximize energy efficiency – all year round. Here's a look at a few areas you can easily invest in to better conserve energy:
Sprinkler and Irrigation: Nationwide landscape irrigation accounts for one-third of all residential water use, rounding out to nearly 9 billion gallons per day, reports the EPA.
The R8800 and T8800 Series by are engineered to power 44 ON operations every 24 hours and provide watering increments down to 12 minutes or up to 20 hours and 45 minutes. The solutions are also equipped with biweekly scheduling with easy 14-day skipper for the most water conservation.
Water Temperatures: Make sure that programming and time keeping is as efficient as possible when it comes to electronic water heaters – a potential big energy and cost guzzler when not properly monitored.
EH10 and EH40 electronic water heater time switches offer convenient control for electric water heaters with precise scheduling. Scheduling options include daily, 5-day work week, weekend or individual day – for all scheduling needs.
Lighting Controls: With lighting being the biggest culprit of electricity usage in US commercial buildings, electronic controls by help optimize costs and energy.
The electronic controls product suite provides facilities managers peace of mind through easy control of interior and exterior lighting, pumps, fans, signage and more – depending on the facility's needs; 24 hour, 7 day, and 365 day timers with holiday functions and BEMS integration are available.
Occupancy and Motion Sensors: When implementing lighting strategies in any retrofit or new construction project, In-Wall and Ceiling Mount Sensors available in both PIR and Dual technologies should be considered.
sensors pick up even the smallest motor movements so lights stay on only when needed and turn off when vacated to increase energy conservation.