A Day for the Earth, but Which Part?

A scene from the 22nd Annual Convention of the United Auto Workers, held in April 1970 to correspond with the first Earth Day

Via the History News Network:

Today marks the fortieth anniversary of the first Earth Day, the largest demonstration in U.S. history.  Millions of Americans took part on and around April 22, 1970, with events at nearly every college in the nation, in 10,000 secondary and elementary schools, not to mention community centers, parks, and places of worship.  The public outpouring catalyzed Congressional support for a raft of epochal environmental legislation.  Perhaps even more important, Earth Day participants—who were more often than not supporters of diverse causes—discovered a kinship with one another, and together began identifying themselves for the first time as “environmentalists.”

But as the modern environmental movement took shape in Earth Day’s wake, a crucial question remained unanswered.  What, precisely, constituted the environment?  Earth Day’s founder, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, lobbied for an expansive definition of the word.  “Environment is all of America and its problems,” he explained to his audience in Denver on the first Earth Day.  “It is rats in the ghetto.  It is a hungry child in a land of affluence.  It is housing not worthy of the name; neighborhoods not fit to inhabit.”  His nascent environmentalism was largely indistinguishable from his Great Society liberalism.  Accordingly, he lobbied for the creation of thousands of federally funded conservation jobs, as well as for the reallocation of resources from waging war in Southeast Asia to cleaning up domestic pollution.  “The objective,” he concluded, “is an environment of decency, quality, and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures.”

This broad view of what environmentalism would be, one that bound it tightly to social justice initiatives, appeared elsewhere on the first Earth Day.   (more…)

Posted by Brian on April 22nd, 2010 • • Comments Off
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Obama’s Budget

The White House has released Obama’s proposed budget. The final budget won’t look exactly like this one, but it’s another one of those “hey look, we have a new president with a new vision” moments. On the economic front, as Robert Reich explains, the tax structure is going to get a little bit more Robin Hood-y. You can take a look at the whole thing here in a cool in-line document reader. DOI starts on page 83 of the reader (77 of the document). Technically, the budget for ’09 is about $400 million less than ’08 (about a 3% cut) and ’10 is projected to be $300 million more than ’08, but neither of those include the ~$3 billion in the stimulus.

NSF is on page 111 of the reader (105 of the document… seriously, PDFs do this, too. Why can’t the document page number be embedded in the document reader?). In this case, we’re getting a bump! An extra $800 million this year (16% increase) and another $100 million next, plus $3 billion from the stimulus. I love the sound of this: “Ensuring America’s economic competitiveness requires that we develop the future scientific and technical workforce for our universities, national labs, and companies. To help accomplish these goals, the Budget provides substantial increases for NSF’s prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship.” Emphasis mine. So either NSF GR Fellows are about to make a lot more money, or it’s about to get a bit less prestigious. For my sake, let’s hope it’s the latter.

Posted by Tim on February 26th, 2009 • • Comments Off
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