On this, the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day ...

A Few Words from "The Father of Earth Day"

"The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around."

"All economic activity is dependent upon that environment and its underlying resource base of forests, water, air, soil, and minerals. When the environment is finally forced to file for bankruptcy because its resource base has been polluted, degraded, dissipated, and irretrievably compromised, the economy goes into bankruptcy with it."

— From Beyond Earth Day: Fulfilling the Promise,

By Gaylord Nelson, with Susan Campbell and Paul Wozniak,

The University of Wisconsin Press, 2002. 

Sen. Gaylord Nelson

Senator Gaylord Nelson

Democrat of Wisconsin

(1916 – 2005)

About Gaylord Nelson

"Gaylord Nelson was a leading figure in the fight against environmental degradation and social injustice in the twentieth century.

"Growing up steeped in Wisconsin’s progressive heritage and New Deal liberalism, Nelson began his political career as one confident in both the political power of ordinary citizens and the government’s ability to promote the public good. Though the 1950s brought prosperity to some Americans, Nelson's attention was with those in the city and the countryside who were disadvantaged. He never overlooked the social and ecological costs of technological innovation and industrial expansion.

"As a senator, Nelson contributed to important liberal reforms but struggled for years to interest his colleagues in environmental protections. So he turned instead to the people, proposing April 22, 1970 as a day for Americans to speak out about the environmental crises they faced. Earth Day's massive public support forced politicians to see the severity of the problems and the extent of public concern. The first Earth Day galvanized Congress into creating some of the most important U.S. environmental legislation. Gaylord Nelson earned environmentalism a lasting place in national politics."

— From the Web Site Gaylord Nelson and Earth Day:

The Making of the Modern Environmental Movement

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Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies