Bursting with confidence after winning WWII, we Americans
thought our resources were limitless. Rivers carried our garbage away. Smog had
the smell of prosperity, and DDT was a wonder weapon against insects.
Then birds began dropping from our skies. The Cuyahoga
River caught fire. And smog killed townspeople in Donora, Pennsylvania.
No one in Washington seemed to care.
But the environment had one champion, Senator
Gaylord Nelson. Flying to an oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, he got an
idea. He hired a college student, Denis Hayes, to carry it out. The result was
the largest demonstration in US history.
Earth Day, Denis Hayes orchestrated an incredibly successful grass roots
movement that transformed the way we think about the environment. It
generated a decade of landmark environmental legislation: the creation of the
EPA, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act, and more. Through
primary documents and interviews with Denis Hayes, When Rivers Burned tells the Earth Day story.
Science Trade Book (Children’s Book Council and the National Science Teachers’
Studies Trade Book for Young People (Children’s Book Council and the National
Council for the Social Studies
Children’s Book Award Gold Medal
Festival Award in History
brief chronology of the important historical strands in that period that I've