When the first European explorers, traders and settlers first met the first people (the Native Americans) it was quite a different world than today.
The first people were one with the earth. The earth was their mother. The Native Americans were a part of the environment. It was a way of life, where you survived because of the things that were around you. The first people were connected. They thanked Mundu for the gifts of life that were imparted to them. They shared the land, it was Mother Earth.
Europeans equated land with wealth. They had the idea, that people owned the land. By surveying the land, the Europeans set in motion the dividing and selling of land. To them it was something one possessed. It was worth fighting and dying for. Unlike the first people, Europeans looked at the land for the minerals, wood, etc. that they could take from the land. Eventually the Europeans took control of the colonies and took, plundered the earth they took from the first people. Over time this uncaring philosophy caused pollution of the air, the waters and the very earth they walked on. Some places may never heel. They scarred Mother Earth.
In September 1969, United States Senator Gaylord Nelson, of Wisconsin proposes an Earth Day for the spring of 1970, with demonstrations on the environment. He was in favor of "Zero population, because of an over human population on the earth.
Nelson said: "The bigger the population gets, the more serious the problems become ... We have to address the population issue. The United Kingdom, with the U.S. supporting it, took the position in Cairo in 1994 that every country was responsible for stabilizing its own population. It can be done. But in this country, it's phony to say 'I'm for the environment but not for limiting immigration.'"
Senator Nelson first proposed the nationwide environmental protest to thrust the environment onto the national agenda.” "It was a gamble," he recalls, "but it worked." Nelson was worried about "global cooling.: The proposed Earth Day was April 22, 1970. Senator Nelson hired Denis Hayes as the coordinator of the events.
"Rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the nation's campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam...a national day of observance of environmental problems...is being planned for next spring...when a nationwide environmental 'teach-in'...coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned...."
The modern environmental movement starts on April 22, 1970, by the participation of twenty million Americans (20,000,000).. The staff organized by Denis Hayes, enlisted thousands of colleges and universities to protest coast to coast across the United States. The fight was about oil spills, factory pollution, power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, the loss of the wilderness, extinction of wildlife and other things. These people had a common thread in saving the environment. The people wanted something like what the first people had when the Europeans came here over 400 years before. Ralph Nader started talking about the environment that same year.
Today, over 200 million people in 141 countries around the world are participating to save Mother Earth.
In 1990, the cause turned to recycling efforts worldwide. It paved the way for a 1992, United Nations Summit in Rio De Janeiro.. Now the cause focused on clean energy and global warming.
By 2000, the Internet was used by up to 5,000 environmental groups around the world to organize hundreds of millions of people around the world. Hundreds of thousands of people were at the national Mall in Washington D. C., in the United States.
In 2007 over a billion people participated in Earth Day events worldwide.
"We're going to be focusing an enormous amount of public interest on a whole, wide range of environmental events, hopefully in such a manner that it's going to be drawing the interrelationships between them and getting people to look at the whole thing as one consistent kind of picture, a picture of a society that's rapidly going in the wrong direction that has to be stopped and turned around.
Things that we can all do everyday of the year including Earth Day are:
Buy permanent items instead of disposables.
Buy and use only what you need.
Buy products with less packaging.
Buy products that use less toxic chemicals.
Repair items as much as possible.
Use durable coffee mugs.
Use cloth napkins or towels.
Clean out juice bottles and use them for water.
Use empty jars to hold leftover food.
Purchase refillable pens and pencils.
Participate in a paint collection and reuse program.
Reuse grocery bags as trash bags.
Recycle paper (printer paper, newspapers, mail, etc.), plastic, glass bottles, cardboard, and aluminum cans.
Here it is Earth Day April 22, 2009, and again we (the Mohegan Tribe) have nothing planned for the day. The Council of Elders (actually anyone in the Mohegan Government) should be taking the lead and finding ways for Mohegans to participate in this worthy cause. Maybe we could have walked around Shantok and picked up bottles, cans, glass and papers in the woods. Maybe we could do it this coming Saturday, April 25, 2009. Maybe we could have our Earth Day on May 15, 2009, when we have our clam bake.
Can we do it? Should we do it? Why aren't we doing it? Do you know? Should we be thinking of Mother Earth like our forefathers? She is our Mother, shouldn't we take care of her?