With the 20th anniversary of Earth Day quickly approaching, David R. Brower, one of the leading environmentalist in the country, called it the beginning of a decade of restoration.
Speaking to about 10 people, mostly from the media, at the University of San Diego, Brower issued a challenge to restore the Earth and put its "life-support system back together as best we can so it will be as useful to oncoming generations as it has been to us."
Bower, 77, who is chairman of the Earth Island Institute, spoke at a ceremony announcing the kickoff of the San Diego Earth Day 1990 Pledge. About 30 USD students formed a coalition with the city to gather 100,000 signatures from people making a commitment to protect the earth.
The controversial Brower has been involved in conservation battles since 1938. He was the Sierra Club's first executive from 1952-69, but left at the staff's request, after a dispute over the location of a nuclear power plant in central California, and founded Friends of the Earth in 1969.
Brower said one of the things that will help Earth Day, on April 22, is a speech in January by Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow advocating an international Green Cross to complement the Red Cross. He said the Red Cross takes care of people, and the Green Cross would take care of the Earth.
"I have been presenting this idea to audience after audience, and, out of 3,000 people, 1,500 put their hand up," he said, referring to the support the idea generated.
Since Earth Day was started in 1970, the Earth has deteriorated a great deal, Brower said. "The population has risen, there has been an attack on resources, we hear about global warming, acid rain, endangerment of species, foolish use of energy and offshore drilling. It's worse than it was. But, it is so much better than it would have been without Earth Day, which is a national awareness of environmental preservation."
Brower has been credited with helping to create many parks, a number of them in California. He played a major role in the creation of Dinosaur National Monument and in the prevention of dams being built in the Grand Canyon.
On Thursday, Brower mentioned several things that environmentally conscious people could start doing to celebrate Earth Day's anniversary.
"We can start by thanking President Bush for saying that he's an environmental president, and we can thank him again when he becomes one. We should urge him to abandon what I call his reckless prudence. We need leadership to restore the Earth from deterioration."
"We have multiplied and subdued the Earth all too well, and forgot to replenish it," Brower said, paraphrasing a biblical scripture.