Reflecting on 50 Years of Earth Day

April 22, 1970 was the 1st ever Earth Day. This was years of environmentally conscious government officials and activists who were desperately concerned about destructive habits and the deteriorating state of the natural world. “On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans — 10% of the U.S. population at the time — took to the streets, college campuses and  hundreds of cities to protest environmental ignorance and demand a new way forward for our planet” (Earthday.org). By the end of that year the US Environment Protection Agency was formed and very quickly environmentally focused laws were created. Today Earth Day is considered to be the worlds largest Civic Event.

1970, a 29 year old social worker was inspiring inner city youth from Hartford to care about the natural world. Pete Wlochowski has spent decades educating, inspiring service minded people to look around them and respect the environment. This was his life’s work and his calling. Pete, affectionately nicknamed Poppy, started at the Youth Service Bureau well over a decade ago to provide the same inspiration to Manchester youth with the creation of the Journey Program. This is what he had to say “I want young people to develop an awareness of nature. Even in their own back yards; there are surprises everywhere. Turn over a stone, look in the trees, look to the sky. Life and beauty abounds.” Poppy suggests to become aware of the issues and realize that they are more than litter or plastic bags. What can we do? Find out who Greta Thunberg; listen to Bird Note; find activities that connect you to the natural world; pull up a wildlife streaming cameras. These are just a few ideas. Remember too, Earth Day is everyday. Taking care of our creatures, plants, air and water, is taking care of ourselves, our families, our neighbors and the world. If you have any other ideas or sightings, share them with Poppy peter.wlochowsk@yahoo.com. Happy Earth Year 2020?

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