Earth Day is “thirty-something,” and the whole world is invited!
On April 22, 1970, 20 million people across America celebrated the first Earth Day in a flurry of coast-to-coast grassroots events often credited with launching the modern American environmental movement.
1970: It was the year of the introduction of the AMC Gremlin and the Ford Pinto, of Apollo 13, and of increased plane hijackings, notably in Japan, Europe and New York. And it was the year that Ohio National Guardsmen killed four college students at Kent State University.
The Grateful Dead played at the Fillmore East, music icons Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin both died at age 27, and the Beatles’ Long and Winding Road was their last number one song. It was also the year of the meltdown of fuel rods in the Savannah River nuclear plant near Aiken, South Carolina, an incident that went unacknowledged for 18 years.
The ‘60s had brought a flowering of personal identity, a sense of self-empowerment, and the idea that individuals could indeed, effect change. Nearly 100,000 war protestors peacefully demonstrated at the White House, and finally, the Viet Nam war began to wind down. Heralded by the rock musical, Hair, the Aquarian Age had begun.