The first ever Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970 making today the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. I can still remember the first Earth Day ! Students at Wells Easton High School walked from Wells to Easton picking up trash in the road ditches. Maybe it was the first "Adopt a Highway" program in Minnesota? I also remember that I did not walk the road ditch because we had a tennis match that afternoon so the coach would not let us walk to Easton!

Any way you look at it, Earth Day accomplished the goal of drawing attention to our environment. There was a poll in May of 1971 when 25 percent of the U.S. public said protecting our environment was an important goal. That was a 2,500 percent increase over the same poll taken in 1969. After the first Earth Day an number of important laws were passed.

Environmental legislation passed and signed into law shortly after the first Earth Day include: the Clean Air Act, Water Quality Improvement Act, Endangered Species Act, Toxic Substances Control Act, and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. Plus the Environmental Protection Agency was established in 1970.


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