The New York Times: The ‘Profoundly Radical’ Message of Earth Day’s First Organizer

The New York Times: April 20, 2020, The ‘Profoundly Radical’ Message of Earth Day’s First Organizer

One day in the fall of 1969, Denis Hayes, a graduate student at Harvard, snagged a 10-minute meeting with Gaylord Nelson, a United States senator from Wisconsin who had been talking up his idea for a national teach-in about environmentalism.

In recent days, Hayes has drawn a connection between the coronavirus and climate change, and the failure of the federal government to effectively deal with either one. He urged his readers to get involved in politics and set aside national division. “This November 3,” he wrote, “vote for the Earth.”

In the years after the first Earth Day, Hayes served as a senior fellow at the Worldwatch Institute in Washington, D.C., and President Jimmy Carter made him director of the Federal Solar Energy Research Institute in Colorado, where he promoted solar power from an institution with nearly 1,000 employees and a $130 million budget

Time is short, he warned: “because of the rather long lead time needed to convert from one energy source to another, a decision to reduce fossil fuel use swiftly after the year 2000 would have to be made today.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Scroll to Top