Earth Day is a day of celebration, protest, and action.The first Earth Day was held on April 22nd 1970, in many ways marking the beginning of the modern environmental movement. In the years leading up to this momentous occasion there had been growing public concern about the environment, after decades of increasing fossil fuel consumption, decreasing air quality, and the publication of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring which highlighted the dangers of pesticide and chemical pollution. A devastating 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara was the breaking point for a junior senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson, and he began planning a teach-in as a form of protest against the increasing environmental deterioration occurring in the United States. In the process he recruited many different actors to the cause, from students to faith groups to conservation organizations, and together they created the first Earth Day.
On that first Earth Day over 20 millions Americans took part in coast to coast protests and rallies. The protesters made up ten percent of the total United States population in 1970. Organizations and movements which up until this time had been working alone to combat specific environmental hazards, banded together over their shared values. Within a year this collective protest had led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, and led to the creation of other legislation that worked to protect and steward the environment.
Whatcom Land Trust, and all of its supporters, donors, and volunteers, are carrying on the work of this momentous movement. Our mission is to protect and steward the lands of Whatcom County, protecting and restoring wildlife habitat, protecting the water in the Lake Whatcom watershed, and preserving local agriculture for future generations. Much like the way the first Earth Day united many different interests and actors across the country, the Land Trust works with a wide range of organizations here in the county. From city and county government, to other conservation organizations, to recreational groups like the Whatcom County Mountain Bikers or Back Country Horsemen. Together, we have the ability to create more change than by working alone!
The Earth cares for us providing food, water, shelter, and the healing beauty of the natural world. Earth Day is an opportunity for all of us to pay that care back. Small everyday actions, even something as simple as picking up a piece of trash or pulling a noxious weed, when repeated a hundred times over by a hundred different people build up to big changes. Last year, on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, 100 million people all across the globe observed the occasion, in what is being called the largest online mass mobilization in history. We can all make a difference, and Whatcom Land Trust is proud to be taking part in this beautiful celebration of the place we all call home!
Here are some actions we can all take to make a difference this Earth Day!
– Pick up litter and dispose of properly
– Remove a Whatcom County Noxious Weed with landowner permission (https://www.whatcomcounty.us/923/Current-Weed-List)
– Plant a native species with landowner permission
– Volunteer for a local conservation organization
– Inspire others to take action and invite them to join you
– When enjoying the outdoors, stay on trails and limit erosion