April 22, 1970 marked the first observation of Earth Day1, an annual occasion celebrating all that is beautiful about planet earth while calling attention to the many devastating problems impacting our planet. The founding of Earth Day led to scores of positive environmental initiatives, including passage of the Clean Air Act2, dedicated to reducing air pollution; the Clean Water Act3, established to combat aquatic pollutants; and the Endangered Species Act4, “a program for the conservation of threatened and endangered plants and animals and the habitats in which they are found.”
The same year that the first Earth Day was held, the United States Environmental Protection Agency—dedicated to preserving and protecting the environment in America—was founded. December 2, 1970, the Senate confirmed William Ruckelshaus as the first administrator of the EPA5.
The agency started its efforts with great strength, taking steps to combat air pollution and ban “DDT” (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), a dangerous chemical used as a pesticide but which also had highly toxic properties that affected human beings.
Today, the EPA continues its noble work, promoting emissions reduction, recycling, and green energy initiatives as well as disseminating information relating to climate change and its impact on our world, and more.
Each of us can make an impact by acting locally and thinking globally. How will you hug the Earth today?