Fighting for Fair Pay

Happy Earth Day! – Posted April 22, 2024

Happy Earth Day!

Environmental and labor protections are deeply intertwined, often forming the backbone of sustainable development frameworks worldwide. Even Earth Day itself may not have been possible without the labor movement.

The first Earth Day was proposed in 1970 by Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, who presented his idea to the Industrial Union Department of the AFL-CIO. The President of the United Auto Workers donated $2,000 to jumpstart the idea.

Denis Hayes, the first national coordinator of Earth Day, said “the UAW was by far the largest contributor to the first Earth Day, and its support went beyond the merely financial. It printed and mailed all our materials at its expense — even those critical of pollution-belching cars. Its organizers turned out workers in every city where it has a presence.”

Additionally, enthusiasm for Earth Day helped lead to the creation of OSHA in 1970, which ensures safe and healthy conditions for workers.

Yet, recent setbacks, such as Gov. Ron DeSantis’ rollback of protections for outdoor workers in Florida, serve as stark reminders of the ongoing challenges faced by labor advocates and environmentalists alike. In the face of such adversity, it’s crucial to recommit ourselves to the principles of justice, equity, and sustainability that underpin the environmental and labor movements.

As we look to the future, let us draw inspiration from the collaborative spirit of Earth Day’s origins and redouble our efforts to create a world where both people and planet thrive together. May our collective resolve propel us towards a brighter, more sustainable future for generations to come.