The first Earth Day event was held on April 22, 1970, and is considered the birth of the modern environmental movement. After the oil spill disaster in Santa Barbara, California in 1969, Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, was inspired to combine the anti-war energy and the growing concern for the environment to create an environmental movement. That year 20 million Americans participated in a coast-to-coast rally for a more healthy and sustainable world.
Among other things, this first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, and the Endangered Species Act, which helps protect Asian elephants today.
To help celebrate this event, the Virginia Zoo, in Norfolk, Virginia hosted their annual Earth Day and animal enrichment event called “Party for the Planet” on April 21, 2012. Director, April Yoder was able to attend the event as a representative of Asian Elephant Support. April’s father, Sheldon, who serves on our communication committee, was in town visiting and was also able to help with the event.
Participants arrived bright and early on Saturday morning to set up for the event. There were several local environmental organizations and agencies at the event providing information on many environmental issues such as clean air and water, and the use of solar energy. Throughout the day April and her father had an opportunity to talk to the zoo visitors and even catch up with some friends that work with the zoo’s two elephants, Lisa and Cita.
April is the Chairperson for our Education committee so she took this opportunity to share information about the Palm Oil Crisis and how as consumers, we can make a difference for elephants in Asia.
Click here for more information on the Palm Oil Crisis.