Video of Gaylord Nelson

From Milwaukee Public Television: Earth Day speeches 1970 in Milwaukee

Provided by Milwaukee Public Television. Originally aired on WMVS-TV, April 1970.

Gaylord Nelson spoke on Earth Day eve - April 21, 1970 - at the Cooley Auditorium of Milwaukee Technical College. He was coming to the end of a two-week speaking tour and had spoken earlier that day at a United Auto Workers' convention in Atlantic City, the floor of the Massachusetts Legislature, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The press described the event as a packed house.

Gaylord Nelson: Milwaukee Earth Day speech, part 1

Part 1. In this clip from early in the speech, he articulates a broad, inclusive vision of ecology and new environmentalism that supports the well being of all people and creatures, regardless of location or ability to pay for a quality environment. This new ethic, Nelson states, is at odds with the expensive wars in Southeast Asia.

Gaylord Nelson: Milwaukee Earth Day speech, part 2

Part 2. Nelson insists here that while local activism is critical, federal action must follow. He lays out parameters for air and water quality controls and argues the economic benefits of installing anti-pollution technologies. He also advocates a moratorium on offshore drilling, citing not only the infamous 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, but the spring’s fire and subsequent oil slick at Chevron's derricks off the coast of Louisiana.

Gaylord Nelson: Milwaukee Earth Day speech, part 3

Part 3. Here Nelson makes an argument that success in environmental protection will require a change in Cold War priorities. He calls for a portion of defense appropriations to be reallocated to domestic programs. He urges the audience to trust the democratic process and to lobby and vote for the environmental aims they wish to see Congress pursue.