Every year on April 22nd, the world stops to recognize the annual commemoration of the birth of the modern environmental movement. This Wednesday will mark 50 years of ecological education, innovation and improvement since the United States first celebrated Earth Day in 1970.

To mark the occasion, here is some information behind the history of the holiday, and the role that it has played in the founding and development of Ecological Fibers over the years.

History of Earth Day

The 1960’s were a time of turbulence and environmental dishevelment. By the end of the decade, the United States had just encountered the worst oil spill in the country’s history, and smog and pollution levels were at an all-time high. Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson had been working to educate Congress of the dangers that the environment will inevitably face if these habits were to remain unchecked, but to no avail.

Taking a note from the efforts of the anti-war movement, Senator Nelson set out to organize a “national teach-in on the environment” in hopes of uniting the public against the ongoing crisis. On April 22nd,1970, more than twenty million Americans, 10% of the national population, celebrated what would later be referred to as the first annual Earth Day by taking to the streets in protest against environmental deterioration.

This movement led to the creation of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the eventual developments of the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act and many more environmental policies which are still relevant to this day. Since that time, Earth Day has grown to become the single largest secular holiday celebrated around the world, and inspired a new generation of environmental advocates and conservationists.

Inspired by Publishing, Inspired for Publishing

Senator Nelson drew his inspiration from The Silent Spring, an environmental science book written by Rachel Carson. Published in 1962, the book documented the adverse environmental effects caused by the indiscriminate use of pesticides.

10 years after the book’s publishing, and just two years after the United States first celebrated Earth Day, Stephen Quill drew his environmental inspiration from the movement and founded Ecological Fibers… A specialty paper provider with the goal of one day being able to provide the publishing industry with the most environmentally sound bindery and cover solutions in the world.

Environmental innovation has remained at the heart of everything that we do here at Ecological Fibers. From disbanding the use of hazardous solvents in the production of our materials, to the development of the world’s first 100% water-based paper coatings in our industry, the health of the planet has remained our top priority.

Earth Day, and the movement behind it helped to establish the foundation of how our company was set to be run, and it holds a very special place in the hearts of all of us here at Ecological Fibers. The preservation of the environment is one of the founding principles behind our work, and the inspiration behind Senator Nelson’s ecological ideology set the groundwork for various standards that we still abide by to this day.

“We all have kids, grand-kids, this is our world. We have a responsibility to the world, the country, future generations, that’s a driving force for our business,” said John Penatzer, Vice President of Operations, “all of our employees care about that and want to make that better.”

We are honored to say that on the 25th anniversary of Earth Day, we were recognized by the EPA and granted an Environmental Merit award for our demonstrated commitment and significant contributions to the environment.

25 Years Later. What the Future Holds

Our innovation and industry leading environmental policies have led us to where we are today. Though the path has not been an easy one to pave, we have never wavered from our commitment to providing the highest quality materials for our customers, without compromising on our commitment to protecting the environment.

Though today, as a result of the current adversity that our world is facing, we are unable to celebrate Earth Day as we typically would, we all must continue to do our part. We will continue working towards enhancing our role in environmental preservation, and ensuring the health and safety of the planet, our customers and our employees.

“We’ve come a long way. It was a fight to make our products better while removing the hazardous content, but we’ve accomplished it,” said Dave Robbins, Vice President of Sales, “time has shown that it was the right path, but it was not an easy one at all.”

We hope that you join us in the pursuit of further enhancing the sustainability of the publishing and packaging industries, and we look forward to the next 50 years of Ecological innovation. In the meantime, we hope you remain well and safe. Happy Earth Day, everyone!

To learn more about our environmental initiatives, click here.