Earth Day 1970

“We have met the enemy and he is us,” (as used on the original 1970 Earth Day poster)

Today marks Earth Day, a global event that is celebrated by more than half a billion people.

Back in 1969, Wisconsin U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson proposed launching the event on April 22, 1970 as the National Environment Teach-In to focus on environmental problems. The term Earth Day was used by the event’s national coordinator and quickly replaced the original name. It didn’t become an international event until 1990, and it now includes events in more than 193 countries focused on promoting “environmental citizenship.”

Earth Day is typically viewed as part of the liberal movement. Often, Earth Day focuses on green energy sources, and as our report by Isaac Orr shows, these aren’t key drivers of energy improvement.

I bring all of this up to share with you a picture of the first Earth Day pin from 1970. My father, while attending the University of Wisconsin–Rice Lake, acquired the pin while he was, as he describes himself, a “misguided liberal.” The pin, as you can see, simply says “environment” on it to denote the event’s original name before it was replaced by Earth Day.

Everyone has varying degrees of concern for the environment. But the empowerment of agencies such as the EPA and the overreach of environmental regulations have greatly exaggerated initial 1970 Earth Day concerns.