NASA Earth science studies our planet all day, every day. By tracking the movement of our natural systems – and the effect of human activity on them – we can understand the patterns, causes and results of climate change on the elemental activities that sustain us.
On Earth Day, April 22, we take time to celebrate this wondrous planet with special discussions, events (virtual) and activities. Like our satellites, however, NASA’s Earth science goes on year-round, and we continuously create videos, activities, news and more to tell the story of what’s happening on and with our planet – and all always offered free and open to the public.
For the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day in 2020, NASA created a special package of materials designed to mark Earth Day at Home. This included activities, videos, special programs and other materials in English and Spanish. You can find them all archived here.
From a Rolling Stone Magazine Interview (April 22, 2020):
Well, in 1970, things were vastly more limited. We had three dominant television networks, and also public broadcasting. We had a handful of national newspapers and the wire services. News magazines were much more important than now. That was pretty much it.
Denis Hayes is the Mark Zuckerberg of the environmental movement, if you can imagine Mark Zuckerberg with a conscience and a lot less cash. Like Zuckerberg, Hayes dropped out of Harvard to start an eccentric and unpromising venture. Zuckerberg’s was called Facebook, which he launched in 2004; Hayes’ was called Earth Day, which he founded in 1970.
Hayes is a child of the Sixties. He grew up in a small town on the Columbia River in Washington state, where his father worked in a paper mill and Hayes saw firsthand the toxic consequences of the collision between industry and nature: dirty air, spoiled streams, dead fish. He drifted through college, bummed around in Asia and Africa, and thought deeply about the role of humans in the natural world.
It’s been five decades since Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders photographed Earth peaking over the Moon’s horizon. The iconic image, dubbed Earthrise, inspired a new appreciation of the fragility of our place in the universe. Two years later, Earth Day was born to honor our home planet. As the world prepares to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, NASA reflects on how the continued growth of its fleet of Earth-observing satellites has sharpened our view of the planet’s climate, atmosphere, land, polar regions and oceans.
Before she published “Silent Spring,” one of the most influential books of the last century, Rachel Carson was a young aspiring poet and then a graduate student in marine biology. Although she couldn’t swim and disliked boats, Carson fell in love with the ocean. Her early books—including “The Sea Around Us,” “The Edge of the Sea” and “Under the Sea Wind”—were like no other nature writing of their time,
Jill Lepore says: Carson made you feel you were right there with her, gazing into the depths of a tide pool or lying in a cave lined with sea sponges. Lepore notes that Carson was wondering about a warming trend in the ocean as early as the 1940s, and was planning to explore it after the publication of “Silent Spring.” If she had not died early, of cancer, could Carson have brought climate change to national attention well before it was too late?
Excerpts from Carson’s work were read by Charlayne Woodard, and used with permission of Carson’s estate.
Rachel Louise Carson (May 27, 1907 – April 14, 1964) was an American marine biologist, author, and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement.
Carson began her career as an aquatic biologist in the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, and became a full-time nature writer in the 1950s. Her widely praised 1951 bestseller The Sea Around Us won her a U.S. National Book Award, recognition as a gifted writer, and financial security. Her next book, The Edge of the Sea, and the reissued version of her first book, Under the Sea Wind, were also bestsellers. This sea trilogy explores the whole of ocean life from the shores to the depths.
Late in the 1950s, Carson turned her attention to conservation, especially some problems that she believed were caused by synthetic pesticides. The result was the book Silent Spring (1962), which brought environmental concerns to an unprecedented share of the American people. Although Silent Spring was met with fierce opposition by chemical companies, it spurred a reversal in national pesticide policy, which led to a nationwide ban on DDT and other pesticides. It also inspired a grassroots environmental movement that led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Carson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter.