Tomorrow is Earth Day

Apr 21, 2023 | PDA News

by Debra Schrishuhn for the PDA National Team


53 Years Later, We Still Have a Lot of Work to Do

In 1970, Sen. Gaylord Nelson (D-WI) and Rep. Paul “Pete” McCloskey (R-CA) spearheaded the first Earth Day, complete with teach-ins, clean-ups, tree plantings, marches, speeches, and protests—some 20 million Americans in 2,000 communities and 10,000 schools took part in the largest demonstration in our nation’s history. Reflecting on the success of the inaugural Earth Day, McCloskey credits Sen. Nelson and young people:
[T]he energy of young people … have always been the leaders—civil rights, human rights—it’s always been young people who took on the establishment.

In Earth Day’s aftermath, members of Congress in both parties beholden to polluting corporations were voted out of office. Congress passed 28 bills that form the core of our environmental protections, and they were signed into law by Pres. Richard Nixon, bipartisanship that is hard to imagine today.

One of the jewels of environmental legislation was the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973, co-written by chief sponsor Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) and Rep. Pete McCloskey. McCloskey still considers the ESA his greatest contribution to the welfare of the nation.

And here we are in 2023, on the precipice of mass extinction, fighting for environmental justice, for the very life of our planet against those who would strip our protections for our earth, land, and water.

Call your member of Congress and your Senators today. Tell them we need to work together in service to our planet, the only home we have. Then, let us know of your activism.

Thanks so much for anything you can do today for all our tomorrows. 

In solidarity,

Debra Schrishuhn for the PDA National Team