Photo by: University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability

The problem with old people is that they act as if they’ve seen it all. I see that, too.

Earth Day is upon us and social media fills our screens with calls to action against all sorts of environmental evils: carbon emissions, deforestation, fossil fuels. Everyone wants in on the act: The Department of Commerce invites its employees to post photos of their outdoor activities, New York City will close its streets to cars for a day, and Google is sending its subscribers digital wallpaper with images of green trees and pristine clouds. Businesses, universities, city governments, and world leaders rally around a day we celebrate in much the same way as Valentine’s Day: Hallmark displays its Earth Day cards next to its Easter cards.

Earth Day wasn’t always this mainstream or fashionable. Or domesticated.

The first Earth Day occurred 52 years ago. It originated at the University of Michigan and I was there. You’d be surprised to see who was there and what they did.

This is an excerpt from Robyn’s latest Substack newsletter. To read the entire article, subscribe here.