History of Earth Day

PBS Salutes Earth Day This April with a Month of Special Programming

Five Tips for Sourcing True Green and Authentically Sustainable Travel Opportunities

June Fifteen Collection Turn Heads While Helping The Planet

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History of Earth Day:

It was in September 1969, at a conference held in Seattle, Washington, that Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson announced that in the coming Spring there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on the environment. He proposed the nationwide environmental protest to thrust the environment onto the national spotlight.

"It was a gamble," Nelson recalled, "but it worked." Five months before the very first April 22 Earth Day in 1970, The New York Times carried a lengthy article by Gladwin Hill reporting on the rising tide of environmental events: "Rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the nation's campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam...a national day of observance of environmental problems...is being planned for next spring...when a nationwide environmental 'teach-in'...coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned...." Senator Nelson also hired Denis Hayes as the coordinator.

The year was 1970. Citizens of United States were trying to understand the Kent State shootings and put their arms around the birth of fiber optics. While they were listening to an album called "Bridge over Troubled Water" they were stunned by NASA’s Apollo 13 mission. American’s were mourning a rock star named Jimi Hendrix and starting to pay attention to the environment. Earth Day 1970 preparations were in high gear.

On April 22, 1970, Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in what was to become the first of many Earth Day movements. At the helm was the national coordinator, Denis Hayes. Hayes, with his young and ambitious staff organized coast-to-coast rallies while thousands of college campuses organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. It soon became clear that the varied and passionate nationwide groups that had been fighting against oil spills, factory pollution, power plants, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, wildlife extinction now had a common platform and nationwide attention.

Each year, the April 22 Earth Day marks the anniversaryof the birth of the modern environmental movement.

Biography of Earth Day Founder, Senator Gaylord Nelson:

Gaylord Nelson (1916 - 2005)

FormerWisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson's best-known achievement is the founding of Earth Day in 1970. Described by American Heritage Magazine as "one of the most remarkablehappenings in the history of democracy," Earth Day made environmental protection a major national issue. A distinguished and influential public servant, Nelson served ten years in the Wisconsin Senate, was twice elected Governor of Wisconsin, and, in 1962, began an 18-year career in the U.S. Senate.

Senator Nelson's many achievements included legislation to:

• Preserve the 2,000-mile Appalachian Trail

• Mandate fuel efficiency standards in automobiles

• Control strip mining

• Ban the use of DDT

• Ban the use of 245T (agent orange)

• Create the St. Croix Wild and Scenic Riverway and the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Senator Nelson also co-sponsored the National Environmental Education Act and wrote legislation to create the Upper Great Lakes Regional Commission and Operation Mainstream/Green Thumb, which employed the elderly in conservation projects. He was the recipient of numerous awards, including two from the United Nations Environment Program.

Nelson became Counselor of The Wilderness Society (1981). During his 14 years of service at The Wilderness Society, Nelson worked to protect America's national forests, national parks, and other public lands. He also focused his attention on U.S. population issues and sustainability. He served as Chairman of Earth Day XXV, which was celebrated April 22, 1995. Senator Nelson was also the Founder of Earth Day Network's Earth Day 2000 Clean Energy Now! campaign.

Born on June 4, 1916, in Clear Lake, Wisconsin, he received his BA degree in 1939 from San Jose State College in California and his LLB at the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1942. He was in the U.S. Army during World War II for 46 months, serving as first lieutenant during the Okinawa campaign. Returning to Madison, Wisconsin, Nelson practiced law from 1946 to 1958.

Senator Nelson died on July 3, 2005 survived by his wife, Carrie Lee, and his three children. On his last Earth Day, although frail and in declining health, he joined his grandson at a school tree-planting ceremony to mark the day. (Source: Earthday.net)

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PBS Salutes Earth Day This April with
a Month of Special Programming

This April, PBS salutes Earth Day, Sunday, April 22, 2012, with an exciting month-long slate of new and encore programming. NOVA presents “Deadliest Tornadoes,” a look back at one of the worst tornado outbreaks in the U.S. in decades, and “Secrets of the Sun,” offering a greater understanding of our nearest star. New specials include “EnergyQuest USA,” inspiring stories of how ordinary citizens are making planet-friendly energy choices, and “Powering the Planet,” an eye-opening look at sustainable energy solutions. INDEPENDENT LENS presents “Revenge of the Electric Car,” a look at the global resurgence of the electric car, and “Facing the Storm,” a wide-ranging history of bison and the attempts to bring them back to roam free. With other primetime premieres from NATURE and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, the weeks leading up to Earth Day give viewers the opportunity to explore the wonders of nature.

Take an eye-opening look at the way nations and communities are finding sustainable energy solutions. Tune into “Powering the Planet” on PBS.

"PBS offers programs on nature, science and the environment year round, but April provides an ideal opportunity to focus on the vast array of content in this area," said John Wilson, SVP and Chief Programming Executive. "From energy efficiency to extreme weather, from adventures in nature to wild animals, from electric cars to the amazing landscape of our country, we've got something to match our viewers' interests."

Learn how the tension between technological achievement and environmental impact hangs over the legacy of Grand Coulee Dam. Check local listings.

Other premieres include “Grand Coulee Dam: American Experience,” an exploration of how the tension between technological achievement and environmental impact hangs over the project's legacy, and NATURE "River of No Return," about a young couple's honeymoon that becomes a tale of survival in Idaho's Frank Church - River of No Return Wilderness.

Beginning April 15, a special compilation of Earth Day and environmental programs will also be featured on PBS.org. Check your local listings for details.

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Five Tips for Sourcing True Green and Authentically Sustainable Travel Opportunities

The best intentions can sometimes go awry, especially when dipping travel toes into what may, or may not be, authentic green travel.

Greenloons www.greenloons.com, the company that helps travelers make sustainable travel choices. “Good intentions aside, given ‘eco’ marketing tactics, it’s difficult to discern just what authentic ecotourism really means,” says Irene Lane, Greenloons founder. She offers five clues for helping read between the lines.

1. Understand the three foundational pillars of true ecotourism. Ecotourism travel focuses on discovering a natural or wildlife habitat, maximizing local economic / social goals and reducing the possibility of environmental degradation.

2. Focus on the experience instead of comfort and amenities. Ecotourism is about preserving ecosystems, educating visitors about conservation, empowering localities and operating sustainable tourist attractions, not how many luxury stars a place may have.

3. Recognize legitimate eco-certification labels. There are a myriad of eco-labels throughout the travel / tourism industry. Fortunately, the U.N. Foundation’s Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) has begun authorizing some of them, providing the much-needed legitimacy for award criteria, assessments and reauthorization processes. At present the GSTC applies 37 criteria to assess what is an authentic and sustainable experience. http://new.gstcouncil.org/

4. Choose activities that emphasize environmental awareness rather than outdoor sports and adventure. If guests are being taken by a gas-guzzling double coach bus to experience a unique “eco” activity, it’s not about ecotourism. Eco-activities, which can include kayaking, hiking and sailing, are led by certified naturalists guiding small groups of no more than 12 to experience first-hand interpretation of local flora and fauna. Learning about the fragility and sensitivity of ecosystems is more important than focusing on photo ops.

5. Support travel suppliers who are embedded in the community. Genuine eco-travel organizations understand that tourism can be utilized as a tool for poverty alleviation as well as achieving community economic and social goals. Therefore a crucial distinction for ecotourism is not only resident employment or local food provision or even contributions to local conservation organizations, but also local management and ownership of the ecotourism business as well as incorporation of local cultural traditions.

Eco-certification is awarded to companies that have disclosed their sustainable operations, participated in training on new technologies and undergone stringent on-site visits by independent auditors. Presently there are more than 25 major eco and sustainable tourism certifications around the world and while it can be difficult to understand their nuances, Greenloons’ reference guide helps consumers.

Greenloons only lists eco-tourism vacation packages offered by certified tourism operators. It guides adults and families to travel experiences managed by certified third-party suppliers engaged in eco- and sustainable tourism. Greenloons is a first-of-its-kind online resource aimed at answering the growing need for accredited eco-tours and sustainable holiday travel in the tourism industry. Greenloons.com provides eco-tourism education, news, comparable certified eco-tour and volunteer conservation program listings, tour reviews and booking services, plus a forum for the community to share its personal vacation stories and tips for establishing eco-tourism in any corner of the world. www.greenloons.com

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June Fifteen Collection
Turn Heads While Helping The Planet

With Earth Day just around the corner, many find themselves asking the question, what part can I play in the fight against environmental degradation? Living in a world with limited resources, one of the easiest ways consumers can make a difference is by eliminating single use bags.

June Fifteen allows consumers to tackle environmental issues in style, giving shoppers an ecochic alternative to widely used plastic and paper bags. A native of France residing in eco-minded Los Angeles, Sandrine Cassidy Schmitt, founder and CEO, sought to create products that would capture her two worlds. June Fifteen Collection was created to feature designs with an haute couture feel while remaining practical and affordable. While the reusable bag market may seem saturated, June Fifteen’s bags stand apart from others. Each bag in the collection has unique features that enhance their functionality, from bottle separators to pockets to shoulder straps.

June 15, Inc. started in 2007, with Schmitt’s vision to create stylish, sustainable bags and enable discerning shoppers and all retailers to replace disposable shopping bags. “We aspire to not only make bags that you remember to bring to the check-out counter, but ones that you can also use as purses, beach bags, gifts and accessories,” according to Schmitt. Bags can be purchased at www.june15collection.com and select retailers.

In addition to their recycling program, June Fifteen is a member of 1% for the Planet donating 1% of gross sales to environmental organizations. The company name represents the halfway mark of the year, a time to consider balance and equilibrium. For Schmitt, it represents a pivotal time towards positive evolution, when one should decidedly tip the scales in favor of better habits, for a better world.

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