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This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. 

Then-U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson saw the opportunity to mesh the energy of anti-war protests with awareness of air and water pollution as a way to "force environmental protection onto the national public agenda."

His efforts culminated in significant change. Establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act all happened before the end of that year.

Earth Day was birthed in the counterculture movement. The problem is that sustainable behaviors have remained out of the mainstream and thus have not generated enough impact.

"The idea when Earth Day started was to protect," says Lindsey Kenna '12, an environmental educator at the Lake George Association. "Yet, we kept pushing and pushing what the Earth could handle."

"Earth Day had a lot of momentum when it first started," says Wayne Lamoureux, director of Lasell's facilities & sustainability management division. "The EPA took a lot of steps to alleviate issues of air and water pollution. But it lost momentum."

This year, President Michael B. Alexander asked faculty, staff,and students to revive that momentum by thinking critically and creatively about the status of our planet. Denny Frey, associate dean of curricular integration and associate professor of history, worked with his team at the RoseMary B. Fuss Center for Teaching and Learning (TLC) to create modules for faculty to insert into their course curricula that "tie that course's subject into questions about our environment."

On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, he says, students were able to grapple with the state of the environment from a scholarly perspective using resources within their field of study.