Today is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, an annual event designed to broaden the base of support for environmental programs, rekindle public commitment, and build community activism around the world. The first Earth Day was inspired by the horror of a massive oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara:
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.
As most of you know, Orvis commits 5% of pre-tax profits to protecting and sustaining the natural world, based on CEO Perk Perkins’s belief that “If we are to benefit from the use of our natural resources, we must be willing to act to preserve them.”
On this Earth Day, we’ve launched a new video about our commitment to save the Everglades, which have suffered a century on man-made abuse. Orvis, in partnership with the Everglades Foundation, has worked hard in recent years to bring attention to the problems and to convince legislators to fund the projects that can make a difference.
Watch the video above and then click here to learn more about the issues and about what you can do to help.
More Everglades resources: