Denis Hayes was a college student when Senator Gaylord Nelson invited him to organize the first Earth Day.
There was no email, twitter, or cell phones. So Hayes used newspaper ads, mailings, and fliers. He reached out to professors and students, hunters and housewives, cub scouts and kindergarteners.
He began with this ad in the New York Times:
A disease has infected our country. It has brought smog to Yosemite, dumped garbage in the Hudson, sprayed DDT in our food, and left our cities in decay. Its carrier is man.
Earth Day is a commitment to make life better, not just bigger and faster; to provide real rather than rhetorical solutions. It is a day to re-examine the ethic of individual progress at mankind’s expense. It is a day to challenge the corporate and governmental leaders who promise change, but who shortchange the necessary programs. It is a day for looking beyond tomorrow. April 22 seeks a future worth living. April 22 seeks a future.
The result was the largest demonstration in U.S. history. Check out these images from National Geographic.
Happy Earth Day!