Apr 212009
Authors: Jessica Cline

Thirty-nine years ago U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, angered that the state of the environment was a considered by many to be a non-issue, launched the first Earth Day as an environmental protest.

Over the course of his social movement he inspired 20 million Americans and hundreds of colleges and universities — including CSU — across the U.S. to join in the protest against the deterioration of the environment.

“We have only one planet so it’s important for all students to learn about natural resource conversation, waste reduction and sustainable lifestyle habits,” Tonie Miyamoto,

director of communications for Housing and Dining Services and member of the CSU Live Green Team, said. “Green living can protect our planet and also save students some money on utilities.”

Since Nelson’s first initiatives environmental awareness has grown and spread across the world to include the 17,000 partners and organizations, 174 countries and over one billion people that now participate in Earth day, according to http://www.epa.gov.

In 1990 Earth Day spread from the U.S. to 141 different countries, putting environment issues under the spotlight worldwide.

Additionally Earth Day spurred several environmental movements including the 1990 campaign to boost global recycling and the 2000 global warming campaign and push for increased use of clean energies.

The creation of the Environmental Protection Agency evolved from Earth Day as well as the passage of many acts including:

Clean Air Act, 1990

Water Quality Improvement Act, 1970

Endangered Species Act, 1973

Toxic Substance Control Act, 1976

Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, 1977

Today several CSU organizations join the ranks of the thousands that celebrate the earthly holiday, aiming to promote environmental responsibility.

“(The environment and the sustainability of it) is an issue that every single one of us needs to address in our every day life,” Brittany Goble, president of the Coalition for Sustainable Student Fair, said. “It is not just for people that are really involved in environmental issues, but it is an ethical responsibility that everyone needs to be aware of and needs to consider in the actions that we take and lifestyles we live.”

While no one knows when CSU first celebrated Earth Day, according to environmental and media relations officials and library archives, past celebrations have included parties in the plaza with live entertainment, booths and educational displays.

This year, however, CSU is doing something a little different.

Following the 2009 theme “The Green Generation,” students can attend the Student Sustainability Fair today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Plaza to learn about environmental impact and how to achieve a more “green” and eco friendly life.

The fair will feature booths to educate students on local sustainable food and business options and highlight the work that CSU and its undergraduates are doing with sustainability and environmental issues.

Miyamoto said the CSU’s national reputation complimented the day’s message.

“As The Green University, it is fitting that CSU take an active role in promoting sustainability on Earth Day and every day of the year,” she said.

She was also excited about the campaign that will be launched through the Coalition for a Student Sustainability Fair today.

“This year, we are launching a Green is Gold Campaign at Earth Day to encourage faculty, staff and students at CSU to cut energy and resource use during these tough economic times.”

Goble said Earth Day provides opportunity for CSU and its students to share what they know with each other and get more people involved in environmental activism.

“I think it is far more important for CSU to be walking the walk than talking the talk, because actions speak louder than words,” she said. “So educating each other and getting everyone involved is far more important than advertising what we are doing.”

For more information about Earth Day events and times go to www.today.colostate.edu.

Staff writer Jessica Cline can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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