Each year, Earth Day — April 22 — marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.
The height of hippie and flower-child culture in the United States, 1970 brought the death of Jimi Hendrix, the last Beatles album, and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Protest was the order of the day, but saving the planet was not the cause. War raged in Vietnam, and students nationwide increasingly opposed it.
At the time, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. “Environment” was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news. Although mainstream America remained oblivious to environmental concerns, the stage had been set for change by the publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962. The book represented a watershed moment for the modern environmental movement, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries and, up until that moment, more than any other person, Ms. Carson raised public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and public health.
Earth Day 1970 capitalized on the emerging consciousness, channeling the energy of the anti-war protest movement and putting environmental concerns front and center.
The idea came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media; persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair; and recruited Denis Hayes as national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land.
As a result, on the 22nd of April, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.
Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. “It was a gamble,” Gaylord recalled, “but it worked.”
As 1990 approached, a group of environmental leaders asked Denis Hayes to organize another big campaign. This time, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It also prompted President Bill Clinton to award Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1995) — the highest honor given to civilians in the United States — for his role as Earth Day founder.
As the millennium approached, Hayes agreed to spearhead another campaign, this time focused on global warming and a push for clean energy. With 5,000 environmental groups in a record 184 countries reaching out to hundreds of millions of people, Earth Day 2000 combined the big-picture feistiness of the first Earth Day with the international grassroots activism of Earth Day 1990. It used the Internet to organize activists, but also featured a talking drum chain that traveled from village to village in Gabon, Africa, and hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Earth Day 2000 sent world leaders the loud and clear message that citizens around the world wanted quick and decisive action on clean energy.
Much like 1970, Earth Day 2010 came at a time of great challenge for the environmental community. Climate change deniers, well-funded oil lobbyists, reticent politicians, a disinterested public, and a divided environmental community all contributed to a strong narrative that overshadowed the cause of progress and change. In spite of the challenge, for its 40th anniversary, Earth Day Network reestablished Earth Day as a powerful focal point around which people could demonstrate their commitment. Earth Day Network brought 225,000 people to the National Mall for a Climate Rally, amassed 40 million environmental service actions toward its 2012 goal of A Billion Acts of Green®, launched an international, 1-million tree planting initiative with Avatar director James Cameron and tripled its online base to over 900,000 community members.
The fight for a clean environment continues in a climate of increasing urgency, as the ravages of climate change become more manifest every day. We invite you to be a part of Earth Day and help write many more victories and successes into our history. Discover energy you didn’t even know you had. Feel it rumble through the grassroots under your feet and the technology at your fingertips. Channel it into building a clean, healthy, diverse world for generations to come.
Chemists Celebrate the Earth Day
Earth Day was first officially recognized on April 22, 1970 as a way to demonstrate support for a healthy environment, raise awareness about environmental issues, and remind people that we all need to contribute to a sustainable planet.
For years, chemists have been promoting a better world through recyclable plastics, cleaner-burning fuels, phosphate-free detergents, environmental monitoring, and green chemistry initiatives. The American Chemical Society joined the Earth Day celebration on April 22, 2003. There have been annual Chemists Celebrate Earth Day (CCED) events ever since.
Each year, ACS highlights one of four general topics (water, air, plants/soil or recycling) and chooses a specific “theme name” under the topic to focus the CCED celebration.
ACS local sections, Student Member Chapters, and divisions are encouraged to take part in the celebration, particularly the annual community event. Additionally, hands-on activities have been developed for CCED celebrations, and it is hoped that ACS members, chemical educators, and chemistry enthusiasts will use them to illustrate the positive role that chemistry plays in the world.
International Mother Earth Day
International Mother Earth Day was established in 2009 by the General Assembly under Resolution A/RES/63/278. The Resolution was introduced by The Plurinational State of Bolivia and endorsed by over 50 member states. It recognizes that "the Earth and its ecosystems are our home" and that "it is necessary to promote harmony with nature and the Earth." The term Mother Earth is used because it "reflects the interdependence that exists among human beings, other living species and the planet we all inhabit". It is decided to designate April 22 as International Mother Earth Day.
General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann welcomed the creation of International Mother Earth Day, saying: "International Mother Earth Day promotes a view of the Earth as the entity that sustains all living things found in nature. Inclusiveness is at the heart of International Mother Earth Day; fostering shared responsibilities to rebuild our troubled relationship with nature is a cause that is uniting people around the world."
Girl Scout Leader Day
Girl Scout Leader Day is a day of appreciation for adult volunteers in Girl Scouting held on April 22 every year. Girl Scouts is an outstanding leadership organization for girls due to the exceptional effort put forward by our volunteers. Join us in celebrating all our wonderful adult volunteers during National Volunteer Month and as we give a special shout out to Girl Scout Leaders on Leader Day.
Girl Scout Leader Day recognizes and honors the many adult volunteers to the girl scouting program. Girl Scout Leader Day began on April 22, 1982, when a flag honoring Girl Scout leaders was flown over the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. This day honors the thousands of volunteers who help to make the Girl Scout program a success.
Celebrate today, by thanking the girl scout leaders in your troop and area. Send a note, or card of thanks. Girl Scout groups can hold parties or have a cake at meetings. Gift are not a requirement, or an expectation. One of the ways girl scouts can thank their leaders, is to do their best in everything they do. Your leaders get their reward by seeing you grow into outstanding citizens and human beings!
National Jelly Bean Day
National Jelly Bean Day is celebrated on April 22. It's a special day for those who loves the sweet little candy. Jelly beans are a small bean-shaped type of confectionery with a hard candy shell and a gummy interior which come in a wide variety of flavors. The confection is primarily made of sugar.
Most jelly beans are sold as an assortment of around eight different flavors, most of them fruit based. Assortments of "spiced" jellybeans and gumdrops are also available, which include a similar number of spice and mint flavors. The colors of jelly beans often correspond with a fruit and a "spiced" flavor.
Some premium brands, such as Jelly Belly and The Jelly Bean Factory, are available in many different flavors, including berry, tropical fruit, soft drink, popcorn, licorice, and novelty ranges, in addition to the familiar fruit and spice flavors.
Those in the know believe that jelly beans are a combination of the soft, chewy Middle Eastern sweet called Turkish Delight that has been around for thousands of years and the hard candy shell of Jordan Almonds, a product of the 17th Century.
The earliest reference to jelly beans is associated with Boston candy maker William Schrafft who urged people to send his jelly beans to Union soldiers fighting in the Civil War. Nothing helps ward off the discomfort of gangrene quite like a jelly bean, we guess.
Jelly beans became a wide-spread American treat in the early 20th Century, sold with other penny candies, and in the 1930’s the popular association of jelly beans and Easter was firmly entrenched in our culture, most likely due to the ovate shape (that means ‘shaped like an egg,’ but we prefer the fancy word).
Jelly beans worked their way into more than just holiday traditions, however; they have made a name for themselves in music and politics, as well. American fans thought that The Beatles liked jelly babies, but not knowing what those are, fans hurled jelly beans instead, oblivious to the fact that jelly beans are much harder than jelly babies and therefore hurt when they hit their target. Having been pelted with jelly beans once too often, George Harrison commented, “We don’t like jelly babies, or fruit gums for that matter, so think how we feel standing on stage trying to dodge the stuff, before you throw some more at us.”
In politics, jelly beans earned fame as president Ronald Reagan’s favorite treat (he started munching on them to help him stop smoking his pipe). Jelly Belly, maker of the famous gourmet jelly beans, created the Blueberry Jelly Belly expressly for the president, who once said about himself and his comrades, “We can hardly start a meeting or make a decision without passing around the jar of jelly beans.”
And that, folks, is a short history of the jelly bean. Make sure they are a part of your future by shopping our huge jelly bean selection, and don’t forget to stock up for National Jelly Bean Day, which is April 22.