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Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day Founder, Dies at 89






Gaylord Nelson, is survived by a nation whose natural resources are as healthy as they are in no small measure because of the life he dedicated to keeping them so.


“As the father of Earth Day, Gaylord Nelson is the grandfather of all that grew out of that event.” With those words and others reserved for the best and rarest among us, President Bill Clinton awarded Gaylord Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1995. Gaylord Nelson, former U.S. senator and counselor to The Wilderness Society, died early Sunday morning at his home in Kensington, MD, just a month past his 89th birthday. The “all” that President Clinton noted enfolds an astonishing range of environmental legislation: the Environmental Protection Act; the Clear Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act. Sen. Nelson was instrumental in passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964 and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Sen. Nelson’s gift to the American people began with Earth Day in 1970, an unprecedented outpouring of concern for the quality of our environment. He believed that a healthy environment is among our most fundamental rights. Given the Olmsted Medal for Environmental Stewardship by the American Society of Landscape Architects, he is survived by a nation whose natural resources are as healthy as they are in no small measure because of the life he dedicated to keeping them so. We mourn his passing.


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June 18, 2019, 7:06 am PDT

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