Earth Day, 1970
Posted by adamswife on February 11, 2008
“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.
I’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.
So 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.
Project Beauty in Nature conceived and promoted by Lotus Carroll, the Sarcastic Mom.