On April 22, 1970 Wisconsin’s own Senator made his idea a reality, and Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day. Nelson was born in Clear Lake, WI which is less than an hour’s drive from Kasco’s office in Prescott, WI. Growing up as a kid in the 1960’s, I can recall fishing for panfish in the Wisconsin River which, at the time, was on the receiving end of raw sewage and paper mill waste without much government intervention.
I typically caught plenty of fish but they were too polluted to even think about eating. That situation is greatly improved but there are still plenty of opportunities to create a better environment.
ABOVE: Gaylord Nelson, Images from Nelson Institute for Environmental Sciences – UW Madison
On April 22, 1970 roughly 20 million Americans gathered to confront the ecological problems in their comminutes, states, nation and even the planet. They demanded action. Celebrations effectively stopped traffic in New York City when 20,000 people packed Union Square to see actor Paul Newman talk about the environmental threats to the planet as well as action items to help clean it up.
This combined effort led to the creation of the EPA, the EPA Clean Waters Act of 1972, Earth Day as a national day to reflect on what could be done for the planet (global recognition in 1990), as well as the creation of the National Scenic Riverways. Both the Namakagan and St Croix Rivers here in Wisconsin were one of the first rivers to be designated as such.
“The Ultimate test of Man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.” – Gaylord Nelson
The theme for Earth Day 2022 is “INVEST IN OUR PLANET”. Hopefully you will pause to reflect on:
- Water usage
- Spreading the message that filtration, settling ponds, wise use of fertilizer, and native planting of shoreline vegetation will help the lakes that are our livelihood
- Smart recycling
- Being a better environmental steward and spreading the word
- What each of us can do to make the earth a better place
- “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”. – Native American Proverb
“Water is the new gold, use it wisely or lose it.” – Bob Robinson
Take a step outside and enjoy the waters and land of this great nation, go for a hike and appreciate the natural resources we have.