Join the CORAL Movement on Earth Day 2009
The environmental landscape of America in the late 1960s was anything but green. Concerned citizen groups were forming to protest oil spills, raw sewage, factory and power plant pollution, the extinction of wildlife, the encroachment of development on nature, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, and more.
Then along came Gaylord Nelson, a senator from Wisconsin, with a big idea for raising awareness about what humans were doing to our planet. Nelson’s objective was to “organize a national demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake up the political establishment and force this issue onto the national agenda.” According to Nelson, “It was a gamble, but it worked.”
On that first Earth Day (see photo below), held April 22, 1970, twenty million Americans demonstrated in support of a healthy, sustainable planet. That powerful collective momentum drew support from both political parties and led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
Twenty years later, Earth Day went global, and 200 million people from more than 140 countries participated in events. Today, more than 1 billion people of all nationalities, faiths, and backgrounds participate in Earth Day activities each year.
As the world prepares to celebrate Earth Day this month, remember that our oceans cover a large portion of the planet and are essential to the health and survival of the human race. Consider these statistics from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:
- The ocean covers 71 percent of the Earth's surface and contains 97 percent of the planet's water.
- The ocean supports the life of nearly 50 percent of all species on Earth.
- Coral reefs cover less than 1 percent of the ocean but support nearly 25 percent of all marine fish species.
- The ocean provides 20 percent of the animal protein and 5 percent of the total protein in the human diet.
- In the United States, 1 out of every 6 jobs is marine-related.
- More than one-third of the U.S. Gross National Product originates in coastal areas.
- Coral reefs are some of the oldest and most economically and biologically important ecosystems in the world.
At CORAL, we’re building a passionate community of people dedicated to saving our planet’s coral reefs. Our movement comprises conservationists, ocean lovers, scientists, snorkelers and divers, tourists, government leaders, concerned citizens, and people who depend on the reefs for survival every day.
Stand up for the planet this Earth Day: Organize an event where you live, do your part to reduce your carbon footprint, or join CORAL in its fight to protect our majestic coral reefs. Our community is growing stronger every day; thank you for joining our ranks.
Photo credits (from top): © Wolcott Henry 2005/Marine Photobank; Earth Day, April 22, 1970, © EPA History Office; West Papua Province, Indonesia, © Jeff Yonover