Have you ever wondered how Earth Day came about or why it is important? Depending on what story you hear first, there are two different people that claim they started Earth Day. The first is a gentleman named John McConnell who made a name for himself as a peace activist. As the story goes, he first introduced the idea of the global holiday, "Earth Day," in 1969 at a conference in San Francisco and later to the City of San Francisco whom adopted the first Earth Day Proclamation. McConnell’s passion for the planet was rare at the time but he was inspired by the first picture of Earth from space printed in Life magazine. McConnell felt it necessary to create a worldwide holiday that celebrated the life and beauty of the planet as well as honor its fragility. The second gentleman with claim to the creation of Earth Day was Gaylord Nelson, a United States Senator from Wisconsin. On April 22, 1970, he called for an environmental teach-in, or Earth Day that was modeled after the frequent Vietnam War protests held on local college campuses. Nelson was known as a conservationist and recognized the need for exposure to the many environmental concerns that were being ignored both nationally and internationally. As a result, Nelson’s idea attracted approximately 20 million Americans with the common goal of bringing attention to the degradation of the environment.
Regardless of who you believe was the originator of Earth Day, 1969-1970 was an important turning point in history. Previous generations viewed natural resources as never ending and that the exploitation of these resources was without consequence. In the early 20th century, people accepted blackened skies and rivers of fire caused by intense and uncontrolled pollution.
Today, the situation is much different with more people realizing the importance of conservation and environmental protection. The origin of Earth Day marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement with a goal of a healthy, sustainable environment. On Earth Day, let’s remember to appreciate nature and learn ways to protect our environment. For some easy ways to help on Earth Day and every day, follow these ideas:
Recycle whenever possible – residents can recycle by placing appropriate items in their gray bins and green waste in green bins. Used oil can also be placed with bins on regular trash days for proper recycling.
Properly dispose of hazardous materials - items such as old paints, fluorescent lights, fertilizers, pesticides, expired pharmaceuticals, cleaners, and electronic waste should not be thrown in the regular trash. These items should be taken to a Countywide Household Hazardous Waste or electronic waste collection event (call 1-888-Clean LA for the next event).
Prevent storm water pollution - through the conduct of daily activities, various pollutants can enter the storm drain. Do your part by preventing the most common pollutants released into storm drains:
3 Fuel and motor oil leaking from cars
3 Household cleaning products
3 Improperly disposed paint and paint thinners
3 Paper, cups, and other litter
3 Yard waste and fertilizers
3 Animal waste left from household pets
Conserve our precious water supply – water is a very limited resource in Southern California so please be sure to not waste it. Don’t over irrigate landscapes and limit water use indoors by fixing leaky faucets or turning water off when not in use.
For further information on these and other environmental efforts by the City of La Verne, please contact Customer Service at (909) 596-8744.