By Roxey Lay, Membership & Communications Coordinator
In recent years, climate change has re-ignited the national conversation over the environmental health of our planet and the role humans play in it. With Earth Day a few days away, it seems appropriate to look back at the environmental movement in the United States, how it shaped conservation and lead to the founding of organizations like Wildlands Trust.
First emerging during the 19th century, the environmental movement began in response to air pollution caused by the Industrial Revolution. During this same time, the conservation movement also grew throughout the United States, leading to the founding of the Sierra Club and President Roosevelt establishing bird reserves and national parks and forests throughout the country, as well as the United States Forest Service. Concern over human impact on the planet continued into the 20th century, with concerned scientists in the mid-1950s beginning to measure the Earth's carbon dioxide levels. 
In the 1970s, the modern environmental movement began. “On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies.”  To this day, it remains the “largest demonstration ever in American history.”  In response to this widespread demand for action, the government established the Environmental Protection Agency and passed the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts later that same year. While action on a Federal level is imperative to protecting natural resources throughout the country, it was also during this time that communities began taking land protection into their own hands.
In 1973, Leonna Asker, Betty Anderson and other community activists in Plymouth, worried about losing the land they loved to development, got together and formed the Plymouth County Wildlands Trust. Fast forward to today and that organization still exists as Wildlands Trust, with holdings extending throughout all of Southeastern Massachusetts. As Wildlands’ presence has grown within these communities, we continue to include residents in our work through public programming and events that promote environmental education and discussion. This month, Wildlands kicks off a three-part-series on climate change. Presented in partnership with Manomet and Mass Audubon, Wildlands will be hosting “Is it Me…Or is the Weather Kind of Weird?” Each event will consist of a short presentation, followed by questions and conversation with a professional in the field.
Although the topic of conversation has changed throughout the years, the common theme that our planet’s health is directly connected to public health, remains. By supporting the protection of local lands and engaging in conversations like the climate series, you carry on the spirit of the conservation movement by acknowledging the importance of keeping our region healthy and our communities connected to the natural world for the sake of future generations.
To learn more about the series and to register, go to: https://wildlandstrust.org/events/2019/4/22/is-it-me-or-is-the-weather-kind-of-weird