Pol Light Moment #29 occurred on April 22, 1970, when Senator Gaylord Nelson founded the first Earth Day. Gaylord Nelson served as the 35th Governor of Wisconsin from 1959-1963. He then served as a United States Senator for Wisconsin from 1963-1981.
Gaylord Nelson was influenced to start Earth Day by a huge oil spill in 1969 near Santa Barbara, California (See http://www.examiner.com/article/1969-santa-barbara-oil-spill-from-crisis-to-change). Gaylord Nelson viewed Earth Day as a teach-in on the enviornment. He said this about his reason for starting Earth Day and his optimism for it's impact.
I am convinced that all we need to do to bring an overwhelming insistence of the new generation that we stem the tide of environmental disaster is to present the facts clearly and dramatically. To marshal such an effort, I am proposing a national teach-in on the crisis of the environment to be held next spring on every university campus across the Nation. The crisis is so imminent, in my opinion, that every university should set aside 1 day in the school year-the same day across the Nation-for the teach-in (Source-Congressional Record, Vol 115, No 164, October 8, 1969).The first Earth Day in 1970 had over 20 million participants. It has continued on April 22 of each year for over 40 years. The observance is now an international effort that has over 500 million participants. For more information on Earth Day visit http://nelsonearthday.net/nelson/index.htm. You can also visit the Wikipedia page for Earth Day. Gaylord Nelson who was born in 1916 lived until 2005 and was able to see the continued growth of Earth Day through the years.
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The photo of Gaylord Nelson is in the Public Domain and is on Wikipedia.