Many folks may not know that Earth Day has deep roots in Michigan, at the University of Michigan to be precise. James Tobin at Michigan Today has the story of the Teach-In on the Environment that UM held in March of 1970 because Earth Day fell right in the middle of exams. Students and teachers formed a group called Environmental Action for Survival (ENACT) and booked Democratic front-runner Senator Edmund Muskie, Ralph Nader and biologist Dr. Barry Commoner.
Over four days, an estimated 50,000 people took part in ENACT’s teach-in—an astonishing success that fueled enthusiasm for Senator Nelson’s national Earth Day, which drew some 20 million participants four weeks later and transformed environmentalism into a movement of historic importance. (A number of ENACT’s leaders went on to influential careers in the field, including Doug Scott, a longtime executive at the Sierra Club who is now policy director at the Campaign for America’s Wilderness; David Allan, who became a professor and associate dean of U-M’s School of Natural Resources and Environment; and John Turner, who served as director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the first President Bush.)
“The Michigan event was by far the biggest, best, and most influential of the pre-Earth Day teach-ins,” Adam Rome, a historian and authority on the environmental movement told the Ann Arbor Chronicle. “It was the first sign that Earth Day would be a big deal.”
Read the rest and see photos and even a documentary from The 40th Anniversary of Earth Day at Michigan.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality can point you to Earth Day events all across Michigan, from the Get Clean/ Go Green Earth Day Celebration in Twin Lakes to the Michigan Earth Day Fest in Rochester held this weekend (Apr 23-25) where they expect 100,000 people to learn about green and healthy living through earth-friendly alternatives in food, energy, transportation, clothing, wellness, career, home, garden, finances and more.