I just read that the first Earth Day had 20 million participants in the country.
I fondly remember the first Earth Day. I was in high school, at a boarding school in New Hampshire. I remember being told, the day before, that the school was 'committed' to participating in something new: 'Earth Day'. There was this green patch people started to wear on their sleeves next to their peace patch. I decided it was a good excuse to sleep in. So I did. To make sure no one disturbed me, I pushed my bureau up against my door. At 9:01am, there was a knock on my door. I didn't answer. Suddenly there was a great commotion as someone was trying to kick in my door. The bureau was blocking them, but with persistence, they managed to break the lock, and push my bureau enough so that they could enter. It was the school's headmaster (a muscular ex-linebacker). He grabbed me by my hair and threw me onto the floor and told me I had 30 seconds to get dressed. The bus was waiting for me for 'Earth Day'. I was herded onto one of many buses where other sleepy teenagers were slowly waking up and driven to an isolated stretch of road where I spent the next few hours until lunch picking up trash. Then after lunch (bags of sandwiches and water) we were sent back to the road for more trash collecting. We went back to the school at 5 pm. I learned that all over the state students were forced to go out and pick up trash all over the state roads. No one in my school, or the other schools I talked to, was given a choice.
I just read that the first Earth Day had 20 million participants in the country. A magic day.
Beverley Eyre, April 23, 2002
Noded with author's express permission.