Earth Day Celebration
April 22nd is international Earth Day. But what exactly is it that we all love to celebrate that day? No doubt the beer garden is fun, test driving a new sustainable car is a great experience and the whole festival is a fun activity for families, friends and everyone who likes to enjoy downtown Santa Barbara. But besides these obvious reasons Earth Day is an important day for all of us because it focuses on the future of our environment and our plant. It celebrates a movement which started here, in Santa Barbara, and which continues to raise awareness to environmental issues worldwide.
In 1970 sustainability was not a concern to the majority of Americans, air pollution, polluted oceans and overflowing landfills were seen as inevitable side effects to economic growth. Students were protesting, and the public was focused on the war happening in Vietnam. The environment was simply not on the national agenda. Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day and by then the US senator of Wisconsin, decided to use the energy from the anti- war protest movement and student groups and channel it to bring the environment into the public focus. Inspired by the devastating oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara in 1969 he felt the urgency to raise awareness to the growing pollution of the environment. After announcing the idea of a “ national teach- in on the environment” to the national press Nelson partnered up with republican congressman Pete McCloskey and Denis Hayes as the national coordinator. Earth Day 1970, are achieved an alignment between multiple opposing groups; Democrats and Republicans, City people and farmers, student groups and tycoons. No doubt this unusual mixture added to the success of the event which focused on air and water pollution as its main concerns. As a result of the first Earth Day the United States Environmental Protection Agency was created and environment moved into the public focus.
In 1990 Earth Day went international. Denis Hayes organized the campaign again and over 200 million people in 141 nations participated. Recycling waste and efforts to reduce the production of waste had move into the main agenda. Senator Nelson receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1995 for his efforts in creating and maintaining Earth Day.
In 2000, with a new millennium starting, Denis Hayes organized another global campaign for Earth Day 2000. Global warming and its effects on the planet were at the core of this Earth Day, in which 184 nations and hundreds of millions of people participated. Combining the internet, activists and drum chains brought together people from all over the world united in the wish to move to a more sustainable future.
Earth Day continues to raise awareness to international environmental concerns and to unite people in the move towards a cleaner and healthier planet. Santa Barbara inspired the very first Earth Day and the community continues to teach individuals on the importance of protecting our environment. The Earth Day festival 2014 successfully reached this goal and provided a fun environment for everyone to learn and participate into moving to a more sustainable future.