Happy Earth Day

I got to thinking this morning about the early years of  “Earth Day.” Hard to believe it’s been 41 years since the first one.

For Earth Day 1971 you may remember Walt Kelly’s famous comic strip featuring P0go & Porkypine – “We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us.”

Or how about the “Crying Indian” ad campaign by Keep America Beautiful which was launched on Earth Day 1971. (A little known fact –  Iron Eyes Cody, who was the actor in the ad campaign and lived most of his life as a Native American, did not have any Native American blood. He was of Italian descent.)

I grew up south of Buffalo near the shores of Lake Erie. I remember summers when we could not swim at the local beach due to thousands of dead fish washed ashore. And the billowing smokestacks and the stench and dirt from the steel plants in nearby Lackawanna. At one of the early Earth Day programs at our school I vividly recall the representative from Bethlehem Steel trying his best to convince us that the stuff coming out of the smokestacks every night was simply steam. He didn’t succeed.

What do you remember from those early days? What were the hot button topics in your community? If you’re not old enough to remember, ask your parents what was going on where they lived.

Would love to hear your comments! – Jan

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