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Today is April 22

In 1847, Vermont Congressman, George Perkins Marsh, gave a speech that positioned the nation into thinking about the necessity “to conserve America’s natural resources,” according to the Library of Congress.

Seventeen years later, President Lincoln signed the Yosemite Valley Grant Act; it declared that California’s Valley and Mariposa Big Tree Grove “shall be held for public use, resort and recreation.” Eight years later, President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act into law and set up the first national park in the world.

Throughout the industrial revolution– in the end days of the 19th century and most of the 20th—the environmentalists’ lobby to restore water and air pollution to reasonable ratios, has lagged—in most cases.

Then, in 1969, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson inaugurated a crusade to enlighten America about why the earth’s resources needed to be saved.

The first “Earth Day” was celebrated April 22, 1970. According to the website, the event “inspired 20 million Americans—at the time, 10% of the total population of the United States—to take to the streets, parks and auditoriums to demonstrate against the impacts of 150 years of industrial development which had left a growing legacy of serious human impacts.”

The Grateful American Book Prize recommends World Without Fish by Mark Kurlansky

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Reduce, reuse, recycle is a mantra for many people. It’s difficult to imagine that just 50 years ago awareness of the state of the environment was not part of the collective consciousness.

An emerging public consciousness about the planet began amid environmental issues like increased air pollution and massive consumption of fossil fuels in the 1960s. The bestselling book “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson also raised public concern for living organisms and the links between pollution and public health. The push for environmental reform gained even more momentum on April 22, 1970, when the first Earth Day was celebrated. Then-Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin put Earth Day on the national stage following a large oil spill that struck off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif. Before this disaster, recycling was not a word in the popular lexicon. But when the disaster struck, people began to reason that changes would have to be made to save the planet.

Since the first Earth Day 50 years ago, many strides have been made in the environmental movement. This grassroots initiative gave rise to the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. Environmental awareness has become much more mainstream and is a less polarizing issue than it was in the 1970s, although there are still debates about the reality of climate change and other risk factors. Public demand for environmental safeguards grew in the second half of the twentieth century, and those demands have grown stronger in recent years. Legislation is continually evolving to protect the air, land and water. Sustainability has joined the buzzwords of the movement, and most industries now have a vested interest in changes that can minimize risk to human health and the environment.

Mitigating or avoiding environmental effects, proper waste disposal, reduction in water discharge, and emphasis on reducing, reusing and recycling have become important components of environmental wellness. And people are being educated at earlier stages on the importance of environmental mindfulness. For example, core subjects of the environmental movement are increasingly covered in elementary schools.

Twenty million people turned out for the first Earth Day in the United States. Today, more than 190 countries are engaged and more than one billion individuals are mobilized for action every Earth Day, advises the Earth Day Network. To mark the 50th anniversary, the most pressing topic for the year is climate change. Climate Action is the 2020 Earth Day theme to engage the global public. There is still work to be done, but great progress has been made since 1970.

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In preparation for National Jelly Bean Day which will be celebrated on April 22 this year, here are twenty facts about this fun and flavorful candy.

  1. While no one really knows the origin of jelly beans, they may be a descendant of Turkish Delight which were popular in biblical times.

 

  1. Jordan Almonds, which are the other possible origin of the modern day jelly bean are also made this way and were made popular in the 1600’s in France.

 

  1. The first appearance of what would become the modern day jelly bean was promoted to Union Soldiers during the Civil War.

 

  1. They use a process called “panning” which creates the hard outer shell while preserving the gooey middle.

 

  1. It takes 7 to 21 days to make a jelly bean.

 

  1. Standard color/flavor combinations are:

 

red/cherry

orange/orange

yellow/lemon

green/lime

purple/grape

black/black licorice

white/lemonade

pink/strawberry

  1. There are 130 calories and 37 grams of sugar in one serving of jelly beans which equals about 35 jelly beans.

 

  1. Most jelly bean assortments include eight flavors.

 

  1. In the early 20th century, a “jelly-bean” was slang for a man of style and no substance.

 

  1. Around this time, jelly beans became a regular penny candy offered at general stores and five & dime shops across the country.

 

  1. They were the first candy to be sold by weight rather than by piece.

 

  1. They were originally sold by color and people would buy a bag of red or a bag of green.

 

  1. Peak jelly bean season is Easter, but that is a recent development which began in the 1930’s.

 

  1. The jelly bean is associated with Easter because of its egg-like shape.

 

  1. Each year in the U.S, there are 16 billion jelly beans manufactured just for Easter. This is enough to circle the Earth more than 3 times if they were laid end to end.

 

  1. They were President Reagan’s favorite candy and he used them to help him quit smoking when he was the governor of California.

 

  1. As part of his first inauguration in 1981, 7,000 pounds of jelly beans were ordered and distributed.

 

  1. Jelly Belly created a new flavor, Blueberry, specifically for the inauguration.

 

  1. Jelly Belly jelly beans became the first jelly beans in space when they traveled aboard the 1983 Challenger Space Shuttle.

 

  1. Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans from the Harry Potter books and movies are manufactured by Jelly Belly and include flavors like ear wax, pepper, avocado, marmalade and caviar.

 

While jellybeans are not featured on Fill Your Plate, it’s a good place to discover all the flavors of Arizona agriculture. For more information visit https://fillyourplate.org/blog/.