By now “Earth Day” has become a common household term. Many people associate April 22nd with planting a tree or picking up trash in their local neighborhood, but did you know it is the result of an environmental disaster? Sadly, in January and February of 1969, the largest oil spill to that date occurred off the shore of Santa Barbara. The spill killed marine animals including sea lions and dolphins, over 3500 shore birds and disrupted the migration patterns of grey whales.
Photo Courtesy of the Santa Barbara Historical Museum
This environmentally catastrophic event and subsequent public outrage spawned several pieces of regulatory legislation. In response to this event and its fallout, Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin conceptualized a "national teach-in on the environment". With a desire to harness the energies of the student anti-war movement, April 22nd, 1970, which fell between Spring Break and Final Exams was chosen as the date of the first Earth Day. Appealing to media and universities alike, 20 million individuals from varying political and economic echelons rallied across the United States to demonstrate their desire for more sustainable practices. The result? Creation of the "Environmental Protection Agency, and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts," EarthDay.org - The History of Earth Day.
Front Page New York Times, Thursday, April 23rd 1970
Over the years Earth Day has continued to grow around the world. Reflecting on the 10th anniversary, Nelson wrote in an article for EPA Journal, "It was on that day that Americans made it clear that they understood and were deeply concerned over the deterioration of our environment and the mindless dissipation of our resources.” Earth Day has evolved to be much more than just a single day; it has become a movement. It’s about yearlong recognition of keeping our planet healthy and alive, thinking about humanity’s values, and enacting new ways to protect the environment. As the human population of the Earth continues to grow, our impact on Earth’s environmental resources increases. It’s up to us to continue to keep this planet we call home livable.
Photo courtesy of Trilogy Ambassador Matthew Wheeler
Don't let the fervor for Earth Day fade away. Simple lasting changes can make a huge impact over time and we have a couple suggestions: Get outside and plant a tree and enjoy its air cleansing benefits for years to come. Try riding your bike instead of driving one day a week; the wind in your hair and sun on your cheeks might inspire you to ride two days. Collect trash on your next dog walk or beach adventure. The internet is a fabulous resource (you found us here!) for you to find a local environmental non-profit meeting or activity and get involved. Use reusable or edible food containers and utensils. If you go on vacation, make a conscious effort to learn about the environmental initiatives and ecotourism practices companies use and support them. On Earth Day this year Trilogy will be hosting a Blue’Aina reef cleanup with corporate sponsor Fairmont Kea Lani donating $1,000 to the Hawaii Wildlife Fund. Trilogy has a strong commitment to preserving the ocean and island environment. In 2016 Trilogy will host 15 underwater reef cleanups through our Blue’Aina Campaign. We further reduce our impact on the coral reefs by using and maintaining day use moorings in Maui County. Trilogy also was the first company in Hawaii to retrofit its boats to pump all waste onshore. Read more details of Trilogy's commitment to the environment in our blog post: Pono Practices: Jim Coon- An Environmental Pioneer for Maui’s Reefs . Make yourself more knowledgeable, share that knowledge and help create change. What will you be doing on this Earth Day April 22nd 2016?
Photo Courtesy of Trilogy Excursions
By Conservation and Education Director, Magen Schifiliti