Today, April 22, 2013 is the official Earth Day.
The first Earth Day has its origins in nearby Santa Barbara. Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, inspired by the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California and other events of the late sixties, worked to push environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Senator Nelson along with Pete McCloskey, Congressman, and Denis Hayes, national coordinator, built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land.
As a result, on the 22nd of April, 20 million Americans put on events to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Earth Day 1970 led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
Here, in our neck of the woods, and in our school District, I encourage all our educators to be sure to honor this day and to integrate learning about the planet Earth (science, math, literature, reading, social studies, history…) into everyday lessons that extend far and beyond this one day of awareness. Along these lines, our developing River Project is intended to do just that.
Buckminster Fuller gave us all the most apt metaphor for understanding our place in time and space when he spoke of our planet as Spaceship Earth. It is clearly our charge as educators and stewards of the planet and next generation to keep environmental and whole systems ideas in mind as we interact with our youth; the next stewards of the planet.