Gaithersburg, MD – As our nation celebrates 45 years of community action to benefit the environment this week, the Izaak Walton League and our chapters are working in communities across America to conserve natural resources for future generations.
Senator Gaylord Nelson proposed Earth Day in 1970 to “get a nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake the political establishment out of its lethargy.” Mounting public pressure – pressure that Senator Nelson and the participants in the first Earth Day helped to rally – pushed Congress and state legislatures to enact bedrock laws to clean up our air and water, protect and recover endangered wildlife, and conserve natural resources on public lands.
This spirit of activism was equally evident in communities across the country – citizens didn’t simply wait for policymakers to act, they rolled up their sleeves and did their part locally. The Izaak Walton League and our members led many of those efforts. In late 1960s and early 1970s, the League helped citizens adopt local streams to remove trash and monitor them for pollution. League members and chapters were at the forefront of anti-litter campaigns nationwide. At the national level, the League helped shape the major conservation and environmental protection laws that remain so important today.
An estimated 10 percent of the U.S. population participated in the first Earth Day in 1970. With a national population of more than 320 million (and growing), think of what 10 percent of Americans could accomplish now!
Izaak Walton League members and chapters across the country are working today to solve local resource problems, from halting polluted runoff into streams and rivers to embracing clean energy options that limit damage to public health and the environment. Chapter members are teaching youth to enjoy the outdoors and sharing with them the wonders of the natural world, which will help build a new generation of conservation advocates.
“For the Izaak Walton League, every day is Earth Day,” said Scott Kovarovics, Executive Director of the League. “In communities across the country, the League is empowering citizens to take small steps – steps we all can take – to improve water quality, conserve wetlands and wildlife habitat, and connect young people to nature and outdoor recreation. Together, we can make conservation part of everyday life for all Americans.”
Founded in 1922, the Izaak Walton League of America (www.iwla.org) and our more than 44,000 members protect America's outdoors through education, community-based conservation, and promoting outdoor recreation.