Today marks the 40th anniversary for one of the most widely celebrated environmental advocacy days around the world. Earth Day first took place on April 22, 1970, when more that 20 million Americans took to the streets, classrooms and auditoriums to demonstrate for a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable environment.
The History of Earth Day
Founded by former U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin and coordinated by Denis Hayes, the first Earth Day aligned bi-partisan support, transcended social classes and gave a voice to environmental advocacy. Earth day would eventually lead to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species acts.
The Start of Earth Day in Indiana
As the 20th anniversary of Earth Day drew nearer in 1990, Hayes was asked to coordinate another major campaign. This time, Earth Day went global including 200 million people across 141 countries.
In Indiana, volunteers organized a 20th anniversary Earth Day celebration in downtown Indianapolis. A short time later, they formed a member-based, nonprofit organization, Earth Day Indiana, to continue the annual event in Indiana.
How does Indiana Rank?
According to a 2007 study by Forbes.com, Indiana ranked 49th in the nation for environmental wellness.
In 2007, the U.S. EPA reported that Indiana had the highest amount of toxic discharges to bodies of water among all state, more than 11 percent of the nation’s total.
By 2005 3.7 million Hoosiers were exposed to tap water that included contaminants above acceptable health and safety limits.
Senate Democrats in Action
Today Senate Democrats continue to work toward a greener future for our state and our planet by protecting our natural resources and investing in a sustainable future. Senate Democrats realize that environmentally friendly practices not only preserve our natural resources but stimulate new technologies and economic drivers at a time when jobs and economic stability is needed most. Watch the video below to learn more about where Senate Democrats stand to help make a cleaner, greener and brighter future for Hoosier families.
Green Jobs and Economic Development