Our Wisconsin: Earth Day - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Our Wisconsin: Earth Day

Posted:

MADISON (WKOW) -- When Gaylord Nelson first proposed the idea, he called it "Environmental Teach-In Day."  But it became known around the world as Earth Day.

"The original idea was to organize college campuses and K-12 schools. But, word got out and communities began to organize themselves," says Nelson's daughter, Tia Nelson. "Twenty million people participated that day. It was the largest event in the history of the country at the time."

In a speech in Milwaukee on April 22, 1970, Senator Nelson left no doubt where the environment stood on his list of political priorities. 

"I don't think there's any other issue, viewed in its broadest sense, that's as critical to mankind as the issue of the quality of the environment in which we live," he said.

"I think what was so important was that, given all the focus on Vietnam, there was something to feel good about Earth Day. It was a celebration of life, a change in direction for the nation and its values," remembers Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, who was invited by Nelson to speak at the first Earth Day event in Madison.

And University of Wisconsin environmental historian professor William Cronon adds this perspective, "Gaylord Nelson's genius was to recognize that the community organizing, the gathering of people to talk about their shared values and common future, was something that had the ability to bring together Americans who might otherwise be divided." 

Earth Day also brought together elected leaders, who spent the next decade creating more than three dozen federal laws to protect the environment, including the Clean Air and Water Acts and a Gaylord Nelson favorite, The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. And four decades later, we still see the effects with the Green Movement we have today.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Decorah Eagle Cam

    Decorah Eagle Cam

    The Eagle Cam is back!  Watch live as eagles build their nest and family!More >>
    The Decorah eagles became international stars in 2011, when their nest went viral. To date, over 280 million people from 84 countries have followed the eagle family from eggs to fledgling birds, watching every aspect of life in a wild nest.More >>
  • Motorcycle hit-and-run leaves one motorist injured

    Motorcycle hit-and-run leaves one motorist injured

    Motorcycle hit-and-run leaves one motorist injured

    Pierce Co. Sheriff (Press Release) - On Saturday, April 19, the Pierce County Sheriff's office was notified of a motorcycle crash involving two motorcycles in the township of Trenton. The location was County Road VV, half a mile south of Hwy. 35 in Hager City. A motorcycle driven by Benjamin Bremer, 26, of Red Wing, was attempting to enter County Road VV from the Border Lounge parking lot. A second motorcycle described as a maroon in color hit Benjamin's motorcycle and fled the scene. Benjami...More >>
    Pierce Co. Sheriff (Press Release) - On Saturday, April 19, the Pierce County Sheriff's office was notified of a motorcycle crash involving two motorcycles in the township of Trenton. The location was County Road VV, half a mile south of Hwy. 35 in Hager City. A motorcycle driven by Benjamin Bremer, 26, of Red Wing, was attempting to enter County Road VV from the Border Lounge parking lot. A second motorcycle described as a maroon in color hit Benjamin's motorcycle and fled the scene. Benjami...More >>
  • Eau Claire business moves out after 50 years in downtown

    Eau Claire business moves out after 50 years in downtown

    Eau Claire (WQOW) - The final tenant has moved out of a set of buildings set for demolition to make room for the proposed Confluence Project. After more than 50 years in downtown Eau Claire ScandinavianMore >>
    The final tenant has moved out of a set of buildings set for demolition to make room for the proposed Confluence Project.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WQOW. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's pubic inspection file should contact Director of Station Operations Lisa Patrow at 715-852-5920. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.