“Our goal is not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures." Gaylord Nelson
This is Earth Week, beginning Sunday with the 48th annual Earth Day, the above noted “goal” of then Senator Gaylord Nelson who envisioned that all Americans – and perhaps all peoples of the Earth – would come together to protect the earth, air and water that we all need to survive.
I was just out of college when I was assigned as a cub reporter to do my newspaper’s story on the first Earth Day in 1970. My editor was skeptical that anything might happen, but it soon became clear that people were organizing dozens and dozens of projects and I was on the front line reporting about them. We’ve been working on it and writing about it ever since.
In 1990, I was fortunate to bring Senator Nelson as a guest speaker on Earth Day to the college campus where I was working as Director of Public Relations. He spoke eloquently and passionately about why we must continue to not only carry it forward but also expand upon it each and every year. “Earth Day achieved what I had hoped for and then some,” he told the students. “The purpose of Earth Day was to get a nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake the political establishment out of its lethargy and, finally, force this issue permanently into the political arena.”
We’re still working on it nearly 30 years later, but as Nelson said, “We must succeed. It’s the only earth we have.”