by Larry Smith
In the early 1970s I was a fresh-faced college student totally absorbed with counterculture politics and the new environmentalism in America.
We grew our hair, wore tattered clothes, spoke in ways that horrified the old folks, liberated ourselves sexually, and ridiculed the straightjacketed behaviour of the previous generation. This cycle of cultural rebellion peaked in 1970.
And that was when Earth Day happened. A grassroots-inspired "national teach-in on pollution and ecological problems", it involved tens of millions of Americans across the country, all passionately protesting corporate and governmental abuse of the environment.
Together with our scepticism of big business and big government, my generation shared a new and very emotional interest in nature. That first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 marked the beginnings of a mass movement to curb pollution, conserve resources, protect wilderness and cherish biodiversity. We saw planet Earth in its totality for the very first time.