The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970, a teach-in put together by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson from my home state of Wisconsin and Denis Hayes, a young Wisconsin- born environmental advocate who grew up in Camas, WA and now lives in Vancouver, WA. This celebration of our home planet proved wildly successful, spreading to 140 nations by 1990. Environmental concerns in 1970 included air pollution from coal-fired power plants and gasoline powered vehicles, pollution of rivers, lakes, and oceans, harm to our fellow earthlings the plant, trees, birds, and other animals, the dangers of nuclear power, and the threat of nuclear war. Starting in the 1980s and 1990s, environmental concerns increasingly focused on the negative impacts on Earth’s climate due to human activities, mainly burning fossil fuels and deforestation.
Folk musicians responded to growing environmental concerns after the initial earth Day with a growing canon of great songs, which today’s program showcases.
Featured artists include 1970s greats Jackson Browne- featuring great fiddle by the late David Lindley, Crosby & Nash, Joni Mitchell, ,John Prine, and Cat Stevens, 1960s folk-satirist Tom Lehrer- still relevant and humorous today, plus Johnny Cash, Loudon Wainwright III, his daughter Sloan Wainwright, Walkin’ Jim Stoltz, Irish singer Karan Casey, Scotsman Dougie MacLean, Portlander Casey Neill, Seattle’s Heidi Muller, and a great performance of Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer’s “Gentle Arms of Eden” from the 2001 Sisters Folk Festival.