County Mayor Report
In 1970 there was widespread concern about what we were doing to our living environment and what impact it would have on the life of the planet, including humans. There were real reasons for this concern: It was a time in U.S. history when some rivers caught fire and our cities were routinely clouded by smog.
There was ample physical evidence visible and unmistakable damage to our environment.
Environmental concern came into the national consciousness when Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin called for an environmental teach-in on April 22, 1970. It came to be known as Earth Day by the grassroots participants who made it the largest environmental event in history.
Earth Day is now observed on April 22 each year by an estimated 500 million people and recognized by governments in 175 countries.
In the U.S. the first Earth Day had participants in more than a thousand colleges and universities, primary and secondary schools and hundreds of local communities across the country.
In that spring 40 years ago, 20 million Americans turned out for spontaneous and peaceful demonstrations in favor of environmental reform and action. The remarkable thing about the first Earth Day was that it did not have a central organizing force except a few staff operating out of Senator Nelson's office.
This was truly a grassroots movement as the tremendous turnout was the result of an event that largely organized itself.
Today, the world still faces greater environmental challenges. There are many pollution problems, loss of delicately balanced ecosystems across the planet and depletion of resources.
In the four decades since the first Earth Day, we have learned a lot about Mother Earth.
•Scientists have confirmed that enough solar energy falls on the surface of the earth every 40 minutes to meet 100 percent of the entire world's energy needs for a full year.
•Enough wind power blows through the Midwest corridor every day to meet 100 percent of U.S. electricity demand.
•Geothermal energy is capable of providing enormous supplies of electricity.
Earth Day 2010 is an opportunity to look forward and develop the kind of partnerships between people, their governmental and businesses institutions to ensure future generations will be able to continue to have a good quality of life.
Salt Lake County is pleased to be part of Earth Day 2010 on April 22. The Salt Lake Valley Health Department's Environmental Health facility will host its first Earth Day celebration event. The public is invited to see just what public and private organizations are doing to promote sustainable living and reduce their carbon footprint, reducing their use of hazardous and toxic materials, lowering energy consumption and generally enhancing our environment and being good stewards of our land.
Please visit our Environmental Health Building for the Earth Day event at 788 East Woodoak Lane, Murray, April 22, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
We can all learn what can be done locally to protect our world globally.