Jimmy Carter photo

Proclamation 4710—Earth Day, 1980

January 01, 1980

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Ten years ago, the United States turned over a new--and greener--leaf. On the first day of the new decade, the National Environmental Policy Act became the law of the land. This law is one of our Nation's fundamental charters: it is a pledge from each generation to the next to protect and enhance the quality of the environment.

Through the National Environmental Policy Act which created the Council on Environmental Quality, the Nation affirmed the fundamental importance of the environment to our well-being. Our environment shapes our lives in endless ways: it can be dangerous or it can be safe; it can produce a bounty to sustain us or it can be laid bare; it can frustrate our relationships with nature and with other people or it can provide opportunities for seeking peace and harmony.

As the United States enjoyed the advanced technology, mobility, and material prosperity of the postwar period, we seemed to take for granted the resources on which our prosperity was built. By the beginning of the last decade, the damage to our environment had become a clear threat to the Nation's general welfare.

Citizens and legislators alike awakened to the challenge.

On April 22, 1970, not long after NEPA became law, the Nation experienced one of the most remarkable "happenings" of recent times. Millions of people across America celebrated the first Earth Day by participating in teach-ins, cleanups, bill signings, and scores of other activities to demonstrate their concern for the environment and to learn more about nature, ecology, and broader environmental concerns. Earth Day 1970 was a watershed in citizen understanding of environmental issues.

In marking the anniversaries of the National Environmental Policy Act and of Earth Day, let us rededicate ourselves to our great goal?freeing the people of this earth from disease, pollution, and the spread of toxic chemicals; from the lack of basic necessities; and from the destruction of our common natural and cultural heritage. Let us rededicate ourselves to the creation and maintenance of safe and healthy surroundings, to the wise husbanding of the natural resources that are a pillar of our well-being, and to the protection of free-flowing streams, majestic mountain forests, and diverse cityscapes pulsing with life.

We have now begun to make a serious investment in the quality of the' environment at home and abroad. The earth is a fragile asset. The return on wise investments in our environment will be reaped not only by ourselves, but by generations of our descendants. We must achieve another decade of environmental progress.

Now, Therefore, I, Jimmy Carter, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Tuesday, April 22, 1980, as Earth Day. I call upon all citizens and government officials to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities. I ask that special attention be given to community activities and educational efforts directed to protecting and enhancing our life-giving environment. On this tenth anniversary, as we enter a second decade of environmental progress, I further urge all of the people of the United States to dedicate themselves anew to attaining the Nation's environmental goals, as expressed in the National Environmental Policy Act.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of January, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fourth.

Signature of Jimmy Carter

Note: The text of the proclamation was released on January 2.

Jimmy Carter, Proclamation 4710—Earth Day, 1980 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/249506

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