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Earth Day Then and Now
by Fred Stoss
April 22nd was the 41st Earth Day in which I participated. Artvoice’s special issue (April 15 to April 21) places the stories of Earth Day precisely where they need to be: in our backyard. Action stories about what individuals are doing is the highest tribute you give Earth Day 40 years after its birth. These articles also remind us of paths we have traveled from April 22, 1970, days of environmental activism, to April 22, 2010, days of environmental actions. There are enormous differences.
1970’s Earth Day was born in an era of activism related to civil rights, the Vietnam war, and the growing feminist movement. The first Earth Day provided opportunities for learning about overt pollution that poisoned our skies, waters, and land. The first Earth Day was learning about the relationships and interactions between humans and the environment. Earth Day is transformed today as a celebration of our eco-literacy, and demonstrations of how we implement strategies not to live in an environmentally constrained world, but to live in a world without environmental constraints.
As a science librarian at the University at Buffalo with undergraduate and graduate degrees in the biological and ecological sciences, I provide individuals, organizations, and communities mind-numbing volumes of literature, data, and information about the environment. As an educator, I relish the opportunities to teach about the environment. As a reader, I delight in articles showing that our actions are meaningful and contribute towards living more sustainably in the places where we live, work, go to school, and play.
Fred Stoss, Chair,
Task Force on the Environment, American Library Association
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