Earth Day co-founder talks protecting our planet, 50th anniversary plans

Denis Hayes, co-founder of Earth Day, discusses the impact it has had, plans for its 50th anniversary in 2020.
5:17 | 04/22/19

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Transcript for Earth Day co-founder talks protecting our planet, 50th anniversary plans
A lot of those environmental activists using this day this annual Earth Day to shine a spotlight on our politics and on this president. For his policies when it comes to the environment and the earth. We caught up of one of those are activists just a short time ago Dennis Hayes is a co-founder of Earth Day back in 1970. He was here today to talk about what that day means now and what he has planned for its fiftieth anniversary next year it will. That's great to meet you thanks for for talking with us so 49 years of Earth Day what's the impact then when you look back at. The latest in Austin. The impacts her multiple. Certainly the creation of the EPA passage of the Clean Air Act. The clean water it was safe drinking water act the Endangered Species Act of marine mammal protection act of course correction. Superfund national talked greeted him. The legislative impact has been spectacular tens of trillions of dollars have been spent in. It's also has chat with greater awareness caused by these kids yes and in fact very big twelve could who could took. Pieces of legislation that were unthinkable in 1969. And made them literally unstoppable. In 1970 the Clean Air Act which was opposed by the oil industry the coal industry the automobile industry the electric utility industry the steel industry. Pass the senate unanimously for the House of Representatives with one dissenting vote. Mean there are people to get mobilized shifts to be very good. Eight and people are mobilized now there is this greater awareness you it's been 49 years in the making and yet. You hear from Burma on the slick and suffer the situation. How do you reconcile those two things people are more aware of their conserving more and yet. It's gotten pretty bad. Homer we had in 1970 were things that were visible than they were immediately impacting people. So the error ten Pittsburgh Gary Indiana and Los Angeles members like here in Shenzhen and deli in Mexico City today. And then people their kids couldn't do it for recess because there was it's the Cuyahoga River was catching on fire. The bald eagle was in danger when when you've got that sort of commitment thing that is visible it's it's easier to get people engaged. The problems now are global and where as. We all think that America should be a leader out there leading the world of solving the climate crisis. There is a body of opinion that says why should we do it until everybody else jumps in the bond with us at the same time. Which cancers are we jumping first we can develop and sell all the technologies that are part of their revolution but that's not the where president season. Well and you know how slow the legislative process this can be in this country and I'm just getting us to jump in he has never seems to bear through an effort. You got the rest of the world as well I mean. Sent some pretty stark warnings about the state of the. Shares right now are are we past the point of being able to fix it and stop so. You know we believe we are past the point of not having more frequent and more powerful cure cancer passed the point of last month having. To record setting floods in Ireland and destroy the livelihood of farmers have been there for her son for her generations. A pass the brunt of not having forest fires ripping up and down the West Coast but we're not out of the courtroom were facing important human extinction. The other great mass. But but that window is closed and so what we're doing in the year 20/20 is not just in the United States but around the world we'll have events worth undertaking an anniversary of earth. Tech will be effective may thirtieth anniversary of it being an international thing where. There a 180 countries. And I think we'll be getting a few billion people will be. Re going to demand yes billions beefing up more than a billion last year. Expect for public I was more than a to hear directly address your question having that affect national things as much harder now than it was then so where we are have been. So far the most effective as it states that city sir great many states and city California California has been spectacular things got. A timetable and steps between here and 100% renewables but when he fortified. And then you've got some of the things going on and lots and lots of places. What we need to do now is Mary that was what we're calling the vote earth. And a big part of the system. Take the environment and climate in particular up and make it a voting issue when lissouba almost. A basis millennial voters eighteen between nine year olds have climate change atop their list as we had. 120 also offers the presidential elections won't news talked about. Real Earth Day. Yeah those being the actual April 22 of course is right smack in the middle of primary season for. The level helpful evade the issues people are going into the you know in the past you've had a rough time getting we've we've not succeed at getting a single question about climate. Introduced into the presidential debates hint when he twenty we will have an entire debate that is devoted to Horton keeps on not some fluffy yes I care about the climate and I want to make the world a better. But a place where candidates actually have to discuss what it is they're planning to do. And I think I think we're gonna pull that off in the United States and there are sixty other countries have elections. Over the course of the next two years on his corneas can be really being here fiftieth anniversary or for a day of presidential election as well densities in some of scrutiny to DeVon it was a pleasure thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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