In 1970, little seemed to be going right with the natural world. Rivers caught fire. Acid rain fell from the sky. Birds were disappearing. But that spring a simple message began to take root in American thought: There’s one planet Earth, so we better take care of it together.
As tens of thousands of people gathered in American cities for the world’s first Earth Day on April 22, founder Gaylord Nelson told the crowd in Denver: “The objective is an environment of decency, quality, and mutual respect for all other human beings and all living creatures.”
That message carries new weight as we mark the 50th Earth Day amid two seemingly intractable global challenges: climate change and a pandemic.
The end of the coronavirus pandemic is uncertain, but the world is gathering momentum together, taking steps that previously seemed impossible. The same is true for the climate crisis. Scientists, policy makers, engineers, and everyday citizens are working to preserve our planet.
This week, in honor of Earth Day’s pioneers, the Monitor is teaming up with Covering Climate Now, a partnership of hundreds of global news outlets, to explore climate solutions. Check back throughout the week for a look at nature-based solutions, Boston’s quest to go carbon neutral, and efforts to integrate solar power and agriculture.
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