Accountability Central Alert for April 26, 2010 - Getting Down to Earth ... About The Future of Our Earth

Apr 27, 2011 6:06 PM ET

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Let’s begin this week with a test of your history knowledge. Can you guess the year and the month the following occurred:

  • President Richard Nixon signs a law which bans cigarette advertising on radio and television.

  • Paul McCartney reveals that the Beatles have broken up.

  • An oxygen tank in the Apollo 13 spacecraft explodes, forcing the crew to abort the mission and return to Earth prematurely.

  • The song “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel tops the charts in America.


By now, astute readers will probably realize that we’re speaking of the year 1970 (and specifically the month of April 1970). The first year after one of the most tumultuous decades in US history turned out to be almost as historic and memorable as the 1960’s were.   It was within this context that the first “Earth Day” observation was held on April 22, 1970.

The first Earth Day attempted to instill a consensus among citizens that we needed to place environmental concerns front and center. U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson (Wisconsin) is largely credited with starting Earth Day, believed that by focusing more public attention on the problems being caused by air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda.

Senator Nelson forged a bipartisan group of officials to plan “the day” and enlist public support. Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare thing in politics: support from Republicans and Democrats, as well as the rich, poor and middle class. The first Earth Day also led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean AirClean Water, andEndangered Species Acts by the Congress

Earth Day observances became an annual springtime event. Fast forward to 1990: Earth Day organizers expanded the event to a worldwide stage, gathering support from some 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It also prompted President Bill Clinton to award Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1995) -- the highest honor given to civilians in the United States -- for his role as Earth Day founder.

In the year 2000, as a new century approached, Earth Day supporters and organizers initiated another campaign, this time focusing on global warming and a push for clean energy. Earth Day 2000 sent world leaders the loud and clear message that citizens around the world wanted quick and decisive action on clean energy. (Source:  

These goals and objectives live on today. To illustrate that fact, AC’s pages have been filled this past week with news, commentary and research about Earth Day and the many issues connected with this worldwide movement. Our ESG/Environmental and Energy Issues have offered much food for thought. In case you missed them, find some examples at our full newsletter below.

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