In conjunction with the Art and Earth exhibit, the display window at the front of the Berkeley Art Works Gallery at 116 North Queen Street celebrates the 50th anniversary of the founding of Earth Day with some notable details provided by Teaching Artist and Arts Council member Gary Bergel. The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970, marking the birth of the modern environmental movement. Gaylord Nelson, then-Senator from Wisconsin, proposed a national teach-in to send a message to Washington that the public supported a political agenda to address environmental issues. Inspired by the activism and energy he saw on college campuses in the 1960s, he recruited students to help him obtain recognition for a national day (nelsonearthday.net).
Nelson intended Earth Day to be a grassroots, local action to bring more attention to the environment. Individuals and communities were empowered to participate in Earth Day, which drew media attention and ushered in an era of bold environmental legislation. In 1970, it is said that 20 million Americans – 10% of the U.S. population at the time – participated in the first Earth Day. Today, Earth Day is a global concern marked by more than a billion people every year to influence changes in human behavior and environmental policy (earthday.org).
The window provides thought-provoking information to promote awareness of environmental issues and the Earth Day idea. If you happen to be downtown, stop and take a look. You can do so without breaking the “social distancing” rules and we hope you will be inspired in some way to partake in your own Earth Day observance this year (within safe, social guidelines of course). And if you do, let the Arts Council know about it. You can reach BAC at firstname.lastname@example.org