In 1967 cars were used to fight the erosion of an Ohio riverbank. Today plants do the job.
Photograph by Joshua Gunter, The Plain Dealer/AP
Published April 22, 2010
The first Earth Day in 1970 was a raucous, radical teach-in that helped spur clean-air, clean-water, and endangered species legislation in the United States. (Pictures: The First Earth Day—Bell-Bottoms and Gas Masks.)
Now, 40 years later, Earth Day is every day, as the saying goes. The thing is, it’s also everyday—environmentalism has become a routine, if not universally embraced, part of U.S. culture, with green-ness as much a marketing tactic as a moral pursuit.
“I think the novelty [of Earth Day] has worn off,” said Steve Cohen, the executive director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.
“We’re not burying cars or doing those kinds of dramatic gestures anymore,” Cohen said. “Originally, it was seen as an expression of a radical political belief. It’s hard to argue that it’s radical anymore.”