Tag Archives: Coronavirus

Earth Day 50th Anniversary

Today, April 22 2020, is the 50th anniversary of the first celebration of Earth Day. The first Earth Day in 1970 was a major mobilizing event of inestimable historical significance. The event was such a success because it came at the right time as awareness of human effects on the balance of nature was growing. Rachel Carson’s 1962 best-selling book, Silent Spring, laid the groundwork for a growing concern over man’s negative impact on the environment. 1969 was a year rife with high-profile environmental disasters; there was a major oil spill off the coast of southern California and Ohio’s Cuyahoga river caught fire. At the end of the year, concern for the environment rivaled concern for the Vietnam War.

Senator Gaylord Nelson (Wisconsin) announced his intentions for an Earth Day event six months prior to April 1970, which was enough time for the excitement to spread and for countless groups to become involved. A wide range of participants helped to organize Earth Day events and the offerings varied from speeches, teach-ins, movies, workshops, and more. The event inspired lifelong environmentalists and lead to the formation of many new environmental groups, lobbies, and services.

Florida State University participated in the first Earth day with a series of events on Landis Green including speeches, information booths, music, and movies. The theme was “Do Not Ask For Whom the Bell Tolls, It Tolls For Thee.”

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Both photos from the April 22, 1970 edition of the Florida Flambeau. Available digitally at http://purl.flvc.org/fsu/fd/FSU_Flambeau_04221970

The immediate effects of Earth Day were significant: the founding of the Environmental Protection Agency, the passing of the Clean Air Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act. The power of Earth Day extends beyond the day itself, the momentum gained by the event leant credibility to events that followed and engendered a generation of activists.

The twentieth anniversary celebration of Earth Day in 1990 united people in countries on all seven continents in unprecedented numbers to voice their concerns for environmental issues. Whereas the 1970 celebration was a grassroots effort, the 1990 celebration was run like a political campaign with advisors and consultants and a budget 15 times larger than the original event. The worldwide turnout for Earth Day 1990 was double what the organizers expected, the event united the most participants ever concerned about a single cause. The greatest success of Earth Day 1990 was the worldwide participation and attention it brought to the environmental issues plaguing the entire world. Environmental troubles were no longer simply viewed as the problem of white Americans but as a growing global concern.

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Enter https://fsuearthday50.omeka.net/

Florida State University Libraries Special Collections & Archives and FSU Sustainable Campus are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with the launch of a digital exhibit, Earth Day 50: Environmental Activism at FSU and Beyond. This exhibit was originally curated to be installed as a physical exhibit in Strozier library, but installation was postponed due to covid-19. Changing to a digital platform allows the story of Earth Day and environmental activism at FSU to continue to be shared. Please visit https://fsuearthday50.omeka.net/to learn more about the celebration of Earth Day at FSU, in Florida, and beyond.

Sources:

Cahn, Robert, and Patricia Cahn. “Did Earth Day Change the World?” Environment 32, no. 7 (September 1990): 16–20. https://doi.org/10.1080/00139157.1990.9929039.

Rome, A. “The Genius of Earth Day.” Environmental History 15, no. 2 (2010): 194–205. doi:10.1093/envhis/emq036.

Update #2 on Coronavirus and FSU Special Collections

As many institutions are doing at the moment, Florida State University is changing operations for a period to respond to coronavirus. What does that mean for Special Collections & Archives?

Original Campus Library Doors, ca. 1940-1944 [original image]

Until further notice, the Special Collections & Archives public areas, including all reading rooms, are closed to the public for the safety of our staff and our patrons. However, our collections are still available even if you can’t come visit them in person. Please contact Special Collections & Archives at lib-specialcollections@fsu.edu for help in doing research in the archives. Also, our online catalog, finding aid database and digital library remain open for remote use. Please be aware much of our staff is working remotely at this time so answers to reference questions or digital reproduction requests may be delayed until we are in the building again.

The Heritage Museum and the Claude Pepper Library and Museum are closed at this time as well.

This is a very fluid and rapidly changing situation and we will do our best to provide updates if and when any of this information changes. Please check back with the FSU Libraries COVID-19 Updates and Resources webpage for the latest information. We ask everyone to be safe during this time.

Update on Coronavirus and FSU Special Collections

As many institutions are doing at the moment, Florida State University is changing operations for a period to respond to coronavirus. What does that mean for Special Collections & Archives?

Nursing students standing outside Jackson Memorial Hospital, 1950s [original item]

Until further notice, access to all FSU Libraries is limited to holders of FSU IDs and students from the joint FAMU/FSU College of Engineering. Community members or traveling scholars will be unable to visit our collections in person. However, our collections are still available even if you can’t come visit them in person. Please contact Special Collections at lib-specialcollections@fsu.edu for help in doing research in the archives while they are closed to the general public. Also, our online catalog, finding aid database and digital library remain open for remote use.

For our FSU campus community, our hours will reduce, as they normally do, during Spring Break. March 16-20, the Research Center Reading Room, Exhibit Room and Norwood Reading Room will be open from 10am to 4:30pm. The Heritage Museum will be closed and the Claude Pepper Library and Museum will be closed as well.

This is a very fluid and rapidly changing situation and we will do our best to provide updates if and when any of this information changes. Please check back with the FSU Libraries COVID-19 Updates and Resources webpage for the latest information. We ask everyone to be safe during this time.