Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Happy Earth Day!
"How the First Earth Day Came About
By Senator Gaylord Nelson, Founder of Earth Day
What was the purpose of Earth Day? How did it start? These are the questions I am most frequently asked.
Actually, the idea for Earth Day evolved over a period of seven years starting in 1962. For several years, it had been troubling me that the state of our environment was simply a non-issue in the politics of the country. Finally, in November 1962, an idea occurred to me that was, I thought, a virtual cinch to put the environment into the political "limelight" once and for all. The idea was to persuade President Kennedy to give visibility to this issue by going on a national conservation tour. I flew to Washington to discuss the proposal with Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who liked the idea. So did the President. The President began his five-day, eleven-state conservation tour in September 1963. For many reasons the tour did not succeed in putting the issue onto the national political agenda. However, it was the germ of the idea that ultimately flowered into Earth Day."
I was a sophomore at Ohio State for the first Earth Day. As I remember it got lots of publicity but I don't think the ag community did anything special because every day is earth day for a farmer!
It is good non-farmers realize the importance of earth. Earth is our sustenance of life and our very existance. It is a great day to plant a tree, plant some flowers and sow some vegetable seed here though that might have to wait until the weekend. It is a tad bit wet here in good ole southern Ohio!
Our Shannon calls the tree hugger types "earth biscuits." We laughed a long time the first time she said that. Now I guess us farmers have always been earth biscuits since man learned to cultivate and grow crops. Were the shepherds of early times the first earth biscuits?
Since the advances of no-till farming methods we have really become more earth-friendly. It is shocking how much soil, nutrients and chemicals washed down the rivers before no-till came along. You still get a little erosion with no-till but not the average 10 tons per acre you get with tillage!
As we learn to incorporate cover crops into our rotations I think we can get that down to zero or a place where we are building soil as fast as we are losing it. That is my goal on our farms and I know many farmers agree with me.
So when you watch the news tonight or plant something around your home, remember every day is earth day on the farm. Our profits and existance depend on it!