The first Earth Day, held on April 22, 1970, was a remarkable occasion. An estimated 20 million people – 10% of the American population – participated in hundreds of events across the country.1 David J. Webber, “Earth Day and Its Precursors: Continuity and Change in the Evolution of Midtwentieth-Century U.S. Environmental Policy,” Review of Policy Research 25, no. 4 (2008): 313–32. Roughly fifteen hundred colleges and ten thousand schools held Earth Day teach-ins.2 Adam Rome, “The Genius of Earth Day,” Environmental History 15, no. 2 (April 1, 2010): 194–205, Tens of thousands of people spoke at these events; they included government officials, students, professors, local business owners, religious leaders, professionals, artists, and activists.3 Adam Rome, “The Genius of Earth Day,” Environmental History 15, no. 2 (April 1, 2010): 194–205 Time magazine described it “as the biggest street festival since the Japanese surrender in 1945.”4 David J. Webber, “Earth Day and Its Precursors: Continuity and Change in the Evolution of Midtwentieth-Century U.S. Environmental Policy,” Review of Policy Research 25, no. 4 (2008): 313–32.
The first Earth Day was soon followed by the passage of several landmark environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, The Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. And lots more has happened since then – more laws have been passed and new problems have emerged. We’ve made some progress as well as faced some setbacks in our efforts to protect the environment.
This website has been created by a class of Davidson College students to help you and your friends and family better understand the different effects people have had on the Earth and its water, air, climate, and wildlife. It also reveals how our cities, our food, and our energy use can affect our environment, and how some people and places face greater environmental challenges more than others.
As you explore the site, you can earn “badges” along the way! Visit two pages and earn an “Earth Friend” badge, and then visit two more and become an “Eco Apprentice.” If you visit a total of six pages, you can get a “Green Guru” badge. And if you visit all eight pages, you can become an “Earth Day Superstar.” To earn your badges, just write a short comment at the end of each page about the most interesting thing you learned about the page’s topic.
We hope you enjoy your visit to our site – click on the button below to get started!
The environment is where we all meet; where all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share. - Lady Bird Johnson
About this Project
This website is a project developed in Professor Graham Bullock’s course on US Environmental Politics and Policy. Students in the course worked in teams of two to develop the eight webpages. Their assignment was to develop a website that acknowledges the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and:
- Highlights the history, dynamics, and status of environmental policy on issues including climate change, air and water pollution, biodiversity loss, urbanization, and environmental justice.
- Provides interactive opportunities for citizens to engage with these topics.
- Suggests a range of opportunities to learn more and take action
The teams and their members are listed below:
- Air Pollution Team: E. Hensley and S. Donovan
- Biodiversity Team: C. Welch and R. Galvan
- Climate Team: K. Fitzgerald and P. Carter
- Environmental Justice Team: C. Gray and K. Morris
- Energy Team: B. Heuser and L. Sarkisian
- Food Team: A. McGovern and K. Petties
- Urbanization Team: A. Myers and W. Hall
- Water Team: G. Flinchum and R. Deegan
We want to acknowledge the invaluable assistance of Tiffany Camp Johnson and Sundi Richard from the Digital Learning Team of Davidson’s E.H. Little Library and Center for Teaching and Learning. They provided amazing hands-on guidance and assistance in helping us design and create this website – thank you Tiffany and Sundi!