Twenty-Five Years Later

Founding Father: Gaylord Nelson on Earth Day’s Past, Present, and Future

Every Day – at least since 1970 – has been Earth Day for U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, the Wisconsin Democrat who founded the annual event 25 years ago. Nelson, now counselor to the Wilderness Society in Washington, hasn’t missed an Earth Day since, and is still active as an environmental educator and speaker. Nelson, who served in the Senate from 1963-1981, is the author of the Environmental Education Act (1970) and the winners of such honors as Conservationist of the Year (National Wildlife Federation) and the Environmental Leadership Award (UN Environmental Program). He was interviewed at his Washington office.

Did Earth Day 1970 leave its mark on American Society?

Nelson: What it did was focus tremendous attention on environmental issues.