Last weekend was Earth Day, and Boulder citizens made their zeal for the environment and sustainability known with hikes and conferences downtown, kid’s activities in the park, and films at the Fiske Planetarium at the University of Colorado. Boulder is an exceptionally environmentally conscious town and I thought it would be interesting to look at the history of Earth day and what Boulder citizens have done to help and protect the environment.

The first Earth Day occurred in 1970, and was started by then Senator of Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson. After seeing a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara in 1969, the Senator wanted to implement a massive, national ‘teach-in’ in order to educate the public about the environment and pollution. It was titled Earth Day, and featured lectures and activities across the states, drawing more than 20 million people. The day was prolific and helped to initiate and inspire the EPA, the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Act, all established by the end of that year. Earth Day eventually went global, helped to pave the way for the United Nations 1992 Earth Summit, and brought about legislation and reform that furthered their cause. In 1995 President Bill Clinton awarded Senator Gaylord Nelson with the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the highest honor given to citizens in the United States.

In Boulder, Nelson’s legacy lives on in the citizens and agencies and legislation that uphold his same values. Boulder has a plethora of programs dedicated to the environment, ranging from Forest Management, Sustainable Farming Programs, EnergySmart—a company which helps homes and businesses become more energy efficient, and transportation services like buses, ride shares, and bicycles. There are many more programs one can get involved in, with a wide range of youth groups dedicated to keeping creeks and parks clean, and a variety of recycling programs. There are many ways to get involved and with a friendly, local community that is eager to slow climate change and provide services that will help future generations, Boulder seems a model city.

Theresa Duncan is primarily a student of writing and lover of literature, currently pursuing a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge, England. She has previously worked for Ocean Magazine and the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula, and enjoys learning about the esoteric eccentricities of every town she visits. She loves books of all kinds, climbing and bouldering around Colorado, and drinking a jag of Pimms with her tutors when she’s in England. She has a BA from California Lutheran University in English and hopes to eventually pursue a Ph.D in Literature.