- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Earth Day has roots in California, stemming in part from an oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara in 1969, wrote Rose Hayden Smith in a UC Food Observer post marking the 48th annual Earth Day this Sunday, April 22.
"The Santa Barbara oil spill galvanized U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-Wisconsin) to call for a national day of locally inspired and organized 'teach-ins' on the environment – a national 'Earth Day,'" the story says. The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970.
Earth Day is widely credited with “sparking” the modern environmental movement. Landmark environmental legislation swiftly followed (including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act). The Environmental Protection agency was founded that same year. Twenty years after its launch, Earth Day became a global movement.
Among the stories covered in the UC Food Observer is a UC Cooperative Extension research project that is seeking to identify street trees that can cope with rising temperatures and lower rainfall expected due to climate change. UCCE scientists are partnering with the U.S. Forest Service “in an unprecedented 20-year research study to expand the palette of drought-adapted, climate-ready trees for several of the state's climate zones."
The UC IPM program is encouraging Californians to celebrate Earth Day by growing insectary plants. These plants attract natural enemies such as lady beetles, lacewings, and parasitic wasps. Natural enemies provide biological pest control and can reduce the need for insecticides.