Earth Day was conceived by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1969 after taking a trip to California to observe the devastation caused by an enormous oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara. The idea was to organize celebrations around the country that would blend the presentation of academics, scholars, activists, and entertainment to concerns of worldwide pollution and inspire the cleanup of our planet. April 22nd, 1970 marked the first Earth Day celebrations across the globeâ€“ and at the festivities in New York City, Pacifica Radio was there. This week on From the Vault, we remember the first Earth Day by sharing with you historic recordings of the that pivotal day, recently restored and digitized as part of the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project.
Weâ€™ll begin with Pete Seeger from the Main stage at Union Square in Manhattan, singing with Reverend Frederick Douglas Kirkpatrick. Then, a WBAI reporter with a portable recorder will happen upon Allen Ginsberg sitting in a lotus position holding a daisy amongst the thousands of Earth Day participantsâ€¦ later, Ginsberg would address the masses from the stage, as would Margaret Meade and Odetta. Finally, weâ€™ll hear highlights from the dayâ€™s festivities, including organizers as well as a representative from the Oil, Atomic, and Chemicals Workers Union.
From the Vault is presented as part of the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project.