The first Earth Day, observed across the country on April 22, 1970, crystallized a growing public concern about ecological crises. Earth Day was the product of local grassroots action to increase environmental awareness but it also focused the nation's political agenda on urgent environmental issues.
It was Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson who in September 1969 proposed a national teach-in on the environment to send a message to Washington that public opinion was solidly behind a bold political agenda on environmental problems.
This week marks the 40th anniversary of the event and there are many events and celebrations happening around Madison. Here are a few:
The inspiring story of the modern environmental movement, "Earth Days" tracks the flowering of the modern environmental movement, including the first Earth Day in 1970, through the eyes of nine of the movement's pioneers, including Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand, biologist Paul Ehrlich.
Tuesday April 20 and Wednesday April 21.....Earth Day at 40: Valuing Wisconsin’s Environmental Traditions, Past, Present and Future
This fourth annual Nelson Institute Earth Day Conference will revisit the popular movement that launched an era of environmental reform, survey a broad range of current environmental issues, and envision a more sustainable future. Speakers include Robert Kennedy, Margaret Atwood, William Meadows and more.
Tuesday April 20 -- ECOTONES — A Musical Ecology of Wisconsin. An Earth Day concert. 8pm at the Overture Center in Madison. Free.
New compositions about Wisconsin’s environment, by University of Wisconsin-Madison musicians in celebration of the 40th Earth Day and the 40th Anniversary of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.
Tuesday April 20 History Sandwiched in: Gaylord Nelson on Nelson's legacy.
Children and adults all over the world participate in Earth Day activities each April 22nd. And yet, very few people know how such a day got started. Not many recall that Gaylord Nelson, Wisconsin's own state senator, governor and U.S. senator was the man who conceived of the idea 40 years ago.
Ongoing exhibit at the Wisconsin Historical Museum on the history and artifacts relating to Nelson and Earth Day. $2.00 admission.
Discover the story of Earth Day founder and Wisconsin political leader Gaylord Nelson and celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Nelson's idea, conceived as a national teach-in on the environment, became a historic turning point and forged the modern environmental movement. Photographs, letters, news clippings and other materials from Nelson's career will be on display. More
Earth Day at 40 web site for more details.