1. First Earth Day
The first Earth Day was a plea from the masses for some things that seem pretty simple, in hindsight; breathable air, litter-free streets and safe, affordable sources of power.
But perhaps none are as simple or necessary as clean water.
Today, we take America’s clean water for granted; in our rivers and streams, off our coastlines, from our taps at home. But clean, safe, healthy water wasn’t always a given. Up to the early 1970s, there were very few regulations on the books to limit pollution in U.S. waterways and even fewer means of enforcement.
But the spark of the first Earth Day in 1970 set the social and political wheels in motion toward a swift shift to clean water, bolstered by unprecedented government intervention on state, local and federal levels. Within a decade, the basic structure that seeks to keep America’s waterways clean today was in place.