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Happy Earth Day!

1970: Apollo 13, the last Beatles album, Vietnam War protests, the deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, and the first Earth Day celebration.

Earth Day

Earth Day has a special significance to those living in Santa Barbara, Calif. On January 28, 1969, an oil platform six miles off Santa Barbara’s coast ruptured. Over the next ten days, nearly 100,000 barrels of crude oil (~4.2 million gallons) spilled into the Santa Barbara Channel, spreading from Goleta to Ventura and killing thousands of sea birds as well as dolphins, sea lions, and elephant seals.

The environmental movement as we know it today was just beginning. Events like the massive 1969 oil spill (which, at the time, was the largest in U.S. history), galvanized all of California to take action and caught the attention of the rest of the nation as well. Senator Gaylord Nelsen, the founder of Earth Day, got the idea for a national day to focus on the environment after he visited Santa Barbara and witnessed the devastating damage. The resulting outrage and concern about the environmental impact led to the creation of the very first Earth Day in 1970.

On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and assembly halls. A turning point in the environmental movement, the rallies, protests, and teach-ins that occurred that day led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

The first Santa Barbara Earth Day celebration, hosted by the newly formed Community Environmental Council, while modest in size (there were maybe 5,000 attendees) was actually the largest event in 1970. Today, CEC’s Earth Day festival brings in 30-40,000 people annually. This year, the two-day festival is all about activism, “recalling the local energy that led to the nation’s first Earth Day in 1970.”

Various events are held worldwide – in more than 193 countries – and are now coordinated by the Earth Day Network. An estimated billion people celebrate Earth Day every year. The theme for Earth Day 2017 is Environmental and Climate Literacy. In addition to the typical global events, this year the March for Science will be taking place on April 22 in Washington, D.C. with many sister marches across the United States.

Side note: It’s National Park Week! That means free admission to every national park this weekend. So go #FindYourPark and enjoy one of America’s greatest treasures.

Mark your calendars for a super duper special day of eco-activism in 2020 – the 50th anniversary of Earth Day! Now stop reading this blog and go appreciate Earth’s environment by getting outside. 🙂

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Dowitcher Designs is a proud advocate for the environment. The name of the company, in case you don’t know, is inspired by the owners’ love of nature, in particular California’s beaches and shorebirds. Want to learn more about our eco-friendly services? Check out our offerings: Green Hosting, Eco-Friendly Printing, and more sustainable options.

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