Tomorrow is Earth Day. It is always celebrated on April 22nd and has its roots in the student protests surrounding the US involvement in the Vietnam Conflict in the late 1960’s. It was conceived by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, the great state of my birth, and it led to important US environmental legislation and a global recognition of Earth Day in the 1990’s.
Here are some Earth Day facts to share with your friends:
Senator Nelson founded Earth Day after witnessing a massive oil spill that leaked millions of gallons of oil off the coast of Santa Barbara, California in 1969.
The very first Earth Day sparked an environmental movement and led to the creation of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) later that year.
The observation of Earth Day was also influential in passing environmental legislation like the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Education Act, and more.
In 2009, the UN designated April 22 as International Mother Earth Day.
And it is estimated that over a billion people participate in Earth Day every year, making it the largest secular observance in the world.
Earth Day has become a special day of celebration for me. My family respected the environment and contributed to environmental causes like recycling and water conservation long before it was popular. As children we were taught the importance of these commitments and our responsibilities to get involved.
And concerns for the environment and protection of nature are still very important to me today. The volunteer work that I do as a board member of the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust has become a passion, and every acre of land that we protect with tools like conservation easements and fee acquisitions of pristine lands is a cause for celebration. Sometimes it is preservation of a large parcel of land in the Shenandoah Valley, often a farm that has been in a family for generations, and other times it is only a few acres that add to the enjoyment of nature in urban settings in the communities of Northern Virginia bordering Washington, DC. All of these opportunities improve the quality of life for residents of those areas and help reduce the effects of climate change.
Did you know that tree canopies reduce the carbon footprint? Did you know that trees take in carbon and emit oxygen. So every acre of natural forest that is saved is a benefit to climate control. Natural forests also benefit water quality, reduce erosion and provide homes for wild animals.
There is so much that all of us can do in the fight to preserve green spaces and reduce the effects of climate change. Lawyers are naturals for this work because of their advocacy training, knowledge of the legislative process, and understanding of land use issues. So, I encourage you to get involved!
Check out this link to the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust to see how your talents can be used there and in similar organizations throughout the country.
Happy Earth Day!