Earth Day 1970 Part 1: Intro (CBS News with Walter Cronkite)
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Earth Day 1970 Part 1: Intro (CBS News with Walter Cronkite)


– This planet is
threatened with destruction
and we who live in it, with death.
The heavens reek.
The water is below a foul.
Children die in infancy.
And we, and the world,
which is our home,
live on the brink of nuclear annihilation.
We are in a crisis of survival.
– [Anchor] This is a CBS News Special.
Earth Day.
A question of survival.
With CBS News correspondent,
Walter Cronkite.
– Good evening,
a unique day in American
history is ending.
A day set aside for a
nationwide outpouring
of mankind seeking its own survival.
Earth Day, a day dedicated to enlisting
all the citizens of a bountiful country
in a common cause of saving life
from the deadly byproducts of that bounty.
The fouled skies,
the filthy waters,
the littered earth,
is a demonstration that success
was mixed beyond expectations here.
Far below there.
No one, now can know
exactly how many took part,
but we do have an idea
of how many plan participation.
Student groups in 2,000 colleges
and 10,000 lower schools,
citizen groups in 2,000 communities,
by one measurement Earth Day failed.
It did not unite.
It did attract that broad
cross-section of America
that sponsors water not wine.
Its demonstrators were
predominately young,
predominately white,
predominately anti-Nixon,
how often its protest appeared frivolous.
Its protesters curiously carefree.
Yet the gravity of the
message of Earth Day
still came through, act or die.
We begin our report with
Bruce Morton in Denver.
– Laced for purple mountains majesty,
a place where on a clear day,
the legend says you could see forever.
The clear days are fewer now.
And instead of forever,
the view often stops with haze.
Next to Los Angeles,
Denver has the best climate
in the country for producing smog.
In this, unlikely seeming place,
the air is trapped.
Earth Day is a focus
for at which to save it.
– [Man] Bicycles at the state
capitol were a Denver symbol,
water pollution is a major problem here
in the country’s 17th most polluted city,
so, high-schoolers pedal
to show there’s another way to travel.
The altitude increases car
engine’s pollution output
and doesn’t do a thing to bikes.
Somebody in the cheerful
disorganized crowd,
said let’s clean up
and the several-hundred young people did.
Scouring the capital grounds for litter.
Clean-ups like this,
went on in many parts of Denver today.
Somebody got a waste
basket from the capital
and said it must be the only one.
But, there were enough
paper-bags to go around.
Then they left for the teaching end,
bikers on bikes,
but hundreds of others traveling on foot.
Some sang, some shouted,
all seemed to enjoy the day.
High schools were not closed,
but many announced
absences would be excused.
Corrigan Plaza the hall
was arranged to seat 6,000,
although some planners
predicated a half full house.
In fact, it was better than that,
lots of coming and going,
but about 5,000 seats filled.
Most were young, but not all.
Most were white, but not all.
A group who’d bicycled across the state,
gave Governor John Love a deceleration
supporting a cleaner planet
and the governor signed it.

10 Comments

  • swami 7774

    Good God. Barry Commoner is presented as a mere "biologist"? The guy was a communist. Media bias existed back then but there was no Fox News around to correct it.

  • Bill Kovarik

    Juvenile wing-nuts called Barry Commoner a "commie" back then too. Sadly, times change but stupidity can be forever. Still, as Commoner would argue, being a conservationist is a conservative position.

  • BillyBawb

    It's 2011, and we're STILL waiting for peak oil, malthusian catastrophe, global warming disaster, and other things that "scientists" said were supposed to occur decades ago.

  • deanmullen10

    The evidence for global warming is overwhelming. It already is happening. Heatwave, hurricanes, floods are becoming more common, the facts are out there.

  • scumgod13

    Japan is not still waiting. man, this earth is just beyond hope now and I think the people at the top know it. That's why they're spending money like crazy. Printing money we don't have to spend. The scientist were right on target billy Bob.

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  • Steve Byrd

    0:31–At the time of the Earth Day special, CBS News was running a continuing series of reports on the Cronkite newscast entitled "Can the World Be Saved?"

    The "Earth being squeezed" logo that CBS used to intro both the series and this special was reportedly referred to by studio director Richard Mutschler as "the hand job", before Cronkite pulled him over and talked him out of using that particular phrase, saying that "every time I hear you call it that, my mind sort of wanders."

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