Happy Earth Day! No doubt you’ve already heard or seen at least one news story about today’s 40th anniversary of the start of the environmental movement. For many of us, it’s hard to imagine just how different things were on Earth Day 1970. No Environmental Protection Agency, and no Clean Air or Clean Water Acts, either. No recycling bins. No Endangered Species Act. Many cities – including Atlanta – had no mass transit. But we did have leaded gasoline and cars that polluted at rates 20 times those of our cars today.
Times have definitely changed. Many of the environmental problems that were cause for protest in 1970 are now points of pride, as each of us can say that we’ve been a part of the solution.
And that’s the real lesson here. It’s been a long time coming, but in 2010 Earth Day is for all of us. What started 40 years ago as an environmental “teach-in” has today become part of our culture. What kindergartener doesn’t know about recycling? Who doesn’t know something about the impact our daily habits have on the environment? A movement of students wearing gas masks has become a culture of children who remind their parents to turn off the faucet while they brush their teeth.
Green. An excellent example of a good idea winning in the long run.