Don's Jersey Birding: A need to revitalize Earth Day
The Earth Day Generation cared enough to create places like DeKorte Park in the New Jersey Meadowlands.
Photo courtesy of Marco Lips
I love Earth Day. I get excited when it gets close like a kid at Christmas. Leading an Earth Day field trip is when I can get up on my pulpit and preach to everyone about how the first Earth Day in 1970 led to groundbreaking environmental laws, such as the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. It was a true to life grassroots movement that helped lead to things that we almost take for granted now, such as the return of Bald Eagle, Osprey and Peregrine Falcon to New Jersey, and not to mention that we can continue to drink water and breath air without being poisoned.
Being old enough to remember the first Earth Day, I can recall how just the average person thought that a healthier environment for everyone was a good idea. I may be more than a little idealistic being a child of the 60's, but there were no corporate sponsors of Earth Day; no "big box" store wanted their name attached to anything with the word Earth in it. But now, of course, if there is a dollar to be made someone will be waiting to jump on the bandwagon.
We need to get back to the grassroots movement that started the first Earth Day.
Photo Credit: AOL
We have many important statewide issues here in New Jersey, but a lot of these environmental battles have become very localized. A small woodlot is threatened in this community, a pond is becoming a strip mall in another community, but there is no substitute and nothing stronger than individuals who live and work in those places to stand up and get involved.
The first Earth Day organizers helped bring about groundbreaking laws like the Clean Water Act that helped bring back the Osprey.
Photo courtesy of Myke Malzone
Senator Gaylord Nelson, the original founder of Earth Day, was asked why should we continue to observe Earth Day. At age 89, still going to work, he said: "Our work's not finished. There's a lot more to be done."
Make a difference this Earth Day.
Don Torino is the President of Bergen County Audubon Society.