Author and consumer advocate Ralph Nader, a 1996 Independent presidential candidate, 2000 Green Party presidential nominee, 2004 Independent presidential candidate and Reform Party presidential nominee, and 2008 Independent presidential candidate and Peace and Freedom Party presidential nominee, published the following editorial today on his website Nader.org.
Earth Day, April 22, 1970 was the most consequential demonstration of civic energy in modern American history. Engaging nearly 20 million Americans participating in about 13,000 local events, this first Earth Day changed corporate and government policies through popular demands for clean air, water, soil and food.
Senator Gaylord Nelson launched Earth Day, having tired of Congressional inaction and the power of the corporate pollution lobby. Earth Day quickly became a grassroots educational and action-driven week of activities that aroused the country.
Even reactionary President Nixon quickly planted a tree on the White House South lawn in recognition of the public support for environmentalism after he saw the huge turnouts at rallies and marches.
Imagine the environmental threats fifty years ago. Cities were choking with motor vehicle and factory pollution. Los Angeles was smog-land. Air pollution caused respiratory disease and stung your eyes. The Cuyahoga river near Cleveland, slick with oil, would catch on fire. Birmingham, Alabama’s steel mills turned the air into a brownish haze.
To continue reading, visit Nader.org