Today is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. First celebrated in 1970, “The date of Earth Day was specifically selected to mobilize college students”:
To head up the Earth Day project, Senator [Gaylord] Nelson enlisted Denis Hayes, then a graduate student at Harvard University. As national coordinator, Hayes recruited a staff of 85 energetic young environmental crusaders and grassroots organizers, along with thousands of field volunteers, in order to promote the fledgling holiday across the nation. The team knew that in order to gain the most traction, college students would need to play a central role, as they did in the Vietnam protests of the era. The date that Hayes selected for the first Earth Day was a calculated choice: April 22 on most college campuses falls right between Spring Break and final exams.
Read this and other memorable morsels in 10 Fascinating Facts About Earth Day.
If you’ve finally decided that it’s time to read a book about climate change, The New York Times has some suggestions in the following categories:
- I don’t even know where to start.
- I just want to understand how we got here.
- I’m ready for the hard truth. Don’t sugar-coat it.
- Who saw this coming?
- I’m fascinated by how people behave when things get bad.
- Did we learn anything from Hurricane Katrina?
- I live on the coast. How scared should I be?
- New York is the center of my universe.
- What’s happening to the Great Lakes?
- I know it’s all politics. So who’s to blame?
- Someone must be profiting from climate change. Where’s the money?
- I’d like a novel that taps into my current, IRL dread.
- What are some future scenarios?
- I’m a dystopian. Prepare me for the worst.
- I need help arguing with my denialist uncle.
- I’m just an old-fashioned tree-hugger.
- What about the animals?
- I only have time for one canonical read.
- What will inspire the climate activist of the future?
- What will our grandchildren think of us?
- What I can do right now?
And here are some more reading suggestions: 9 Nonfiction Books About Nature and Climate Change.
© 2020 by Mary Daniels Brown