The First Earth Day
Looking back on 1970's first Earth Day celebration.
Earth Day demonstrations began
in practically every city and town
in the United States this morning,
the first massive nationwide protest
against the pollution of the environment.
In Washington, there was an awesome Earth Day warning
from a government scientist.
Dr. J. Murray Mitchell said
pollution and over-pollution, unless checked,
could so warm the Earth in 200 years
as to create a greenhouse effect,
melting the Arctic ice cap
and flooding vast areas of the world.
(applause, cheering and whistling)
HAYES: Nationally, Earth Day was
the largest demonstration ever in American history.
Some events had half a million people in them.
And we had an estimated 20 million across the country.
CRONKITE: Some quarters saw more than coincidence
in the fact that Earth Day
occurred on the 100th anniversary
of the birth of Lenin, the father of Soviet communism.
The Comptroller General of Georgia, James Bentley,
sent out some $1,600 worth of telegrams
warning that Earth Day might be a communist plot.
HAYES: There were certainly people who had their pet causes.
Some pounded vehicles apart with sledgehammers
as a protest against the internal combustion engine.
Others wore gas masks to protest air pollution.
But also, there was an almost celebratory thing,
as though suddenly, we were awakening
to a new set of opportunities.
HAYES: They are talking about emission control devices
on automobiles while we are talking about
bans on automobiles.
We are challenging the ethics of a society,
that with only six percent of the world's population,
accounts for more than half of its utilization of resources.
Our country is stealing from the poorer countries of the world
and from generations as yet unborn.