Today is Earth Day. The first Earth Day was on this date in 1970. What’s changed?
In 1969 the Cuyahoga River caught fire. Not the first time, but it was fortunately the last time. Smog permeated the Los Angeles basin, soot floated in the air above Pittsburgh, and the “brown cloud” hung over Denver.
For the most part, that’s gone now. But the earth is still a mess and much more needs to be done.
Think about how technology has changed since 1970. I’m typing this on a notebook computer with a 1.8 GHz microprocessor, 1GB of memory and a wireless network connection. In 1970, there were no personal computers. There were no microprocessors. There were no computers with a GB of memory. The first test of a computer network had taken place the previous year. What is needed is this type of technology explosion applied to greening the environment.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in the NYT: “I would say that from here on in, every day has to be Earth Day.”
The Nixon administration will be remembered for a lot of things; some good, some not so good. But I think the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency was one of the greatest lasting accomplishments of that administration.