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Earth Day, 1970

Posted by adamswife on February 11, 2008

Support Beauty in Nature “Each year, Earth Day – April 22 – marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. . . On April 22, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment.” (Source: Wikipedia: History of Earth Day)

I was one of the 20 million Americans who participated in that first Earth Day. We were not, however, in the streets, parks, or auditoriums. And we weren’t demonstrating. We were out in the unsettled countryside with our gloves and our garbage bags cleaning up illegal dump sites. There are many willing to gather, to demonstrate, to march in the streets. What we need is more people willing to put on the gloves and pick up the trash.

sagebrushI’m sure the habit of dumping garbage in the desert started when the territory was first settled. After all, there is a lot of open space in Idaho with nothing but a few weeds and maybe some sagebrush. Who is going to notice a bit of trash thrown into that vastness? However, as the number of people in an area grows, so does the amount of trash.

Perrine BridgeSo there we were – in the dry Idaho desert – picking up others people’s trash to be taken to a landfill and disposed of properly. As a youngster I had visited some of these dump sites with my parents. We were there to salvage Mason jars. I guess you could say I was into recycling at a very early age. We picked up bottles that others had tossed aside, checked them for chips to be sure they would seal, took them home where we washed and disinfected them thoroughly and then used them to preserve fruits and vegetables we harvested from our garden. I never could understand why people would toss out such valuable things.

I didn’t find much of value or interest on that first Earth Day. I did wonder at the attitude that it is okay to dump your trash on someone else’s property. Apparently that attitude is still alive and well in America.

More Project Beauty in Nature Posts

Project Beauty in Nature conceived and promoted by Lotus Carroll, the Sarcastic Mom.


9 Responses to “Earth Day, 1970”

  1. Zazzy said

    You go Eve! Wow, I think it’s really cool that you participated in the first earth day. It’s something I talk about but don’t go out and do, you know? You mentioned what we can do to make our corner of the world better this morning and I think these kinds of projects are a great way to do that.

    As far as dumping trash – I felt like I had moved to a different world when I moved to Wyoming. When I first moved there, it was so clean. The people who lived there really cared about the land around them. I don’t know if that attitude changed or whether it was just that more people from outside moved in, but suddenly there was trash everywhere. It’s pretty damn easy to simply NOT throw trash out your car window or dump where it’s not legal.

    Great story, good things to think and talk about!

  2. Christine said

    People do it here too. Garbage up the place. Nothing makes me sadder than to go to one of the beautiful northern lakes and find someones trash. John and I have done a fair amount of hiking into some of these places. They are supposed to be kept totally natural and pure. What do you find? Broken beer bottles and various other trash. We always take a garbage bag with us and haul a sackful out.

  3. Great post.. Nearly all of our home is built from recycled timber and bricks etc. I still constantly surprised at the stuff that people actually throw away…*sigh*

    cheers Kim

  4. Kim said

    I am impressed that you took part in the first Earth Day..!! πŸ™‚ WOW.. Great post .. it is crazy how careless people are with tossing garbage ANYWHERE.

  5. I love that you were there on the very first Earth Day. And it’s a good point that Earth Day seems more like a day to demonstrate lately than just get out there and do something.

    I’m definitely going to get my butt out there this year and pick up the crap! πŸ˜€

  6. Such a good point you make. It Earth day does seem more commercialized these days than actual difference being made. I hope to participate this year with your daughter and new community πŸ™‚ What a amazing story, to be part of the first Earth Day!

  7. adamswife said

    We had no thoughts about making history that day. We didn’t even think about having a second Earth Day. I was in college. I worked with a bunch of my friends from the school. It was a day of socializing as much as it was a day of work. We did a lot of cleaning – don’t get me wrong. It was hard work, and we worked hard. But it was also fun. Being there with people we hung out with, dated, shared class notes. Typical college project. But it was important. More important than we knew. And I’m glad that it is still happening 38 years later. (Now I’ve completely given away my age. Unless you’ll believe I was in college at the age of 3?)

  8. adamswife said

    I’ve been visiting some of the other posts on this topic. I am inspired to get rid of my plastic grocery bags. I bought some remnant fabric today to make some veggie bags and a grocery bag or two. I also have some left-over vinyl fabric that I will use to line a couple bags to give them extra insulating properties and protect against drips. I can hardly wait to get started. Lotus, thank you for having this great idea. Everyone else, thank you for all the good ideas and inspiration.

  9. that’s so cool that you participated in the first earth day. thanks for sharing your story. πŸ™‚

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