Perhaps most symbolic of the renewed concern for the environment was the establishment of Earth Day. Its origins dated back to a 1969 speech by Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson, who called for a nationwide environmental teach-in on college campuses, modeled after the antiwar protest gatherings of the same name. Held on 22 August 1970, the first annual Earth Day involved an astonishing fifteen hundred colleges and ten thousand schools; Time magazine estimated that overall, upward of twenty million people participated. Audubon magazine referred to the hugely successful event by writing: "Now, suddenly, everybody is a conservationist."
With preservation now clearly on the national agenda, the capstone event for the environmental movement of the 1960s was the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. The passage of this law committed Congress to protecting the environment. Signed by...
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