On this fortieth Earth Day, Congressman Dave Obey remembers its founding father, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson. “He was one of the most decent men I ever new. He was one of the most talented men I ever knew,” Obey says. The Wausau Democrat believes Nelson would see Earth Day as less of a celebration, than a recognition of how much work remains. “I do think that is a moral obligation for everybody on this planet to try to take care of the planet that sustains us all. To the extent that we show respect for the environment and for our natural surroundings, we show respect for.”
Obey says Nelson used his characteristic humor to diffuse criticism of Earth Day: the John Birch Society pointed out that the date April 22 was also Lenin’s birthday. Obey says Nelson spoke on the Senate floor, and noted that the date was also the birthday of St. Francis of Assisi, “and more importantly, it’s also the birthday of my aunt Tilly.”
Nelson, a Wisconsin native who also served a term as the state’s governor before serving 18 years in the Senate, would see “protecting the plant from irreversible climate change brought on by the activity of man” as the most important task on this Earth Day, according to Obey. Nelson was the first politician to call for Earth Day – April 22, 1970.
Bob Hague interview (6:00 MP3) AUDIO: Bob Hague interview (6:00 MP3)