It’s the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day

Happy Earth Day 1970—2020! Will the earth make it for another five decades? In 1970 Earth Day participants wore gas masks as a demonstration against air pollution and today everyone is wearing a mask because of a worldwide pandemic.

Watch the following video “Now is the Time|The 50TH Earth Day

The fight to save our planet earth started with Gaylord Nelson’s Earth Day Events that were held across the nation on April 22, 1970. I was sixteen at the time and my favorite song was Bridge Over Troubled Waters by Simon and Garfunkle. Back then in the 1970s everyone drove the big gas hogs, and these V8 engines polluted the air. In some cities the smog was so thick you could cut it with a knife.

Massive oil spill & air air pollution

After a massive oil spill in 1969, Santa Barbara, California, America’s youth began to fight back against the giant industrial complex that was destroying the planet. Gaylord Nelson led the way by creating Earth Day as a day to recognize our planet as a living-breathing-home that we must take care of and safeguard for future generations.

Watch the following video about the history of Earth Day 1970

As a child of the sixties growing up with the songs of the Beatles-Don’t Let Me Down, and watching the first landing on the Moon it was a time of great exploration and innovation. Yet the price was too high for all this luxury and planet Earth was suffering.

Greed for more oil to feed those big V8 engines in the 1970’s 

Read the following from The U.S. Department of State, Historian’s Office: During the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) imposed an embargo against the United States in retaliation for the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military and to gain leverage in the post-war peace negotiations. Arab OPEC members also extended the embargo to other countries that supported Israel including the Netherlands, Portugal, and South Africa. The embargo both banned petroleum exports to the targeted nations and introduced cuts in oil production. Several years of negotiations between oil-producing nations and oil companies had already destabilized a decades-old pricing system, which exacerbated the embargo’s effects.”

As gas prices soared Americans began to push for vehicles that had more fuel efficiency.

Detroit’s goodwill toward fuel economy changed in 1974. Oil prices shocked Americans into a new awareness of the cost of energy—and the gas-guzzling ways of their automobiles. (Source) 

At 16 years of age I thought we could do anything. I wanted to save the the planet! Photograph of me taken in 1970.

I was involved with helping to save the prairie chicken and the whooping crane while in sixth grade at Crestwood Elementary school in Madison. Little did I know that it would be a lifelong fight!

A Wisconsin wild wolf. Photograph credit USFWS

In the 1970s I heard about wolves coming back to Wisconsin…

Here’s an early account of wild wolves returning to Wisconsin from several members of the Wisconsin Wolf Recovery Program (Adrian P. Wydeven , Jane E. Wiedenhoeft, Ronald N. Schultz, Richard P. Thiel, Randy L. Jurewicz, Bruce E. Kohn, Timothy R. Van Deelen) real on:

“While we were growing up in Wisconsin during the 1950s and 1960s, gray wolves (we always called them timber wolves, Canis lupus) were making their last stand in northern Wisconsin. Wolves were considered a wilderness-dependant relic of Wisconsin’s frontier past that no longer belonged in our state. We did not expect wolves to ever again return to the state, at least not in any sizeable numbers. Among us, Dick Thiel was the most tenacious about trying to find evidence of wolves in Wisconsin, even as a student in the 1960s and 1970s. When wolves began returning during the mid-1970s, we dared not hope for any more than a token population of wolves to reestablish. The recovery of wolves in Wisconsin has succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. We have had the pleasure to document and track the amazing return of this powerful predator to our state.”  Source: Chapter 10, History, Population Growth, and Management of Wolves in Wisconsin Book Title Recovery of Gray Wolves in the Great Lakes Region of the United States 

Wisconsin wolves were coming back in the 1970s traveling in from the Minnesota-Wisconsin state boundary in Douglas county. I began helping on the Wisconsin Wolf Recovery program in 1998 and was assigned a tracking block to monitor in 2000. That wolf Tracking block was in Douglas county. It’s been a rocky road for wolf recovery in Wisconsin. Wolves were just barely off the endangered species list when legislation was put into place for hunting them. Wolves were hunted for three years until a federal judge ordered them back on the Endangered Species List. Today in Wisconsin there are an estimated 959 gray wolves.

It’s a well known fact the wolves occupy a mere 2% of their historic range in the USA. 

April 22, 2020 is the 50TH Anniversary of Earth Day

I’m sheltering in place due to a worldwide pandemic caused by a new virus called Covid-19. According to the BBC, …”the new virus – thought to have stemmed from wildlife – highlights our risk from animal-borne disease. This is likely to be more of a problem in future as climate change and globalisation alter the way animals and humans interact.”

Have we made progress in saving the planet since the first Earth Day? On the first Earth Day scientists warned about global warming. Today we are facing the effects of the industrial revolution. We are now in a climate crisis. In 1970 Earth Day participants wore gas masks as a demonstration against air pollution and today everyone is wearing a mask because of the pandemic. Let’s hope we can still save the earth and all it’s inhabitants. #Together #EarthDay

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