Earth Day 1970 Part 10: Earth Week 2of3 Philadelphia (CBS News with Walter Cronkite)
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Earth Day 1970 Part 10: Earth Week 2of3 Philadelphia (CBS News with Walter Cronkite)


– [Man] Radio and television stations have given free air time. (eerie orchestra music) – [Man] There’s a problem about the air, the water and the Earth. It’s being ruined. That’s what Earth Week is all about. – [Man] What it’s all about
is trying to convince everyone in Philadelphia that
industrial activity like this has serious drawbacks
as well as advantages. And the Earth Week
committee wanted to reach more than just students. They wanted help from people
like Mrs. Rita Cugini, the wife of a fireman in
Southwest Philadelphia. Mrs. Cugini did become
involved in Earth Week. When you think about
it, when you walk around your own neighborhood, what
do those words mean to you? – It means a horrible smell
from the nearby refineries. It means open burning
by our older junkyards. It’s burned out grass. And the trees that we have, few and far between, are dwarfed. And that’s about it, sulfur dioxide. You know, I’ve studied
the technical aspects, so the pollution to me is
technically sulfur dioxide and particulates and nitrogen dioxide which is a poison, which I don’t think my children
should have to breathe. It’s bad; it’s frightening to me totally. My oldest son wasn’t born here. We were farther up north. And that was almost a year and a half, two years ago that we moved here. Ever since we’ve been in Southwest, and this isn’t paranoia or imagination, but since we’ve been down
here, he has colds frequently. And my youngest son,
who’s only a year old, has never been without a cold. You know, a week at a time, 10 days at a time, he’s all right. And then, the sniffles begin again. The only thing that’s here, that he could possibly
have this reaction to, is the air problem, the lack of oxygen and surplus of everything else. – What sort of reaction do
you get from your neighbors? You go and talk to them about
ecology and air pollution. How do they react? – I can’t get across the point that this which is mostly invisible. The problem is mostly invisible, even though they do see black smoke and even though they have
to wipe their window sills three times a day. They still don’t understand that this is affecting their lungs so that we don’t ever
fully discuss the problem. It’s just diverted to something else. – [Man] In other words, you
think that they’ve simply become accustomed to pollution.
– Immune, immune psychologically
and accustomed to it, to the odors and to the sight of it. It doesn’t upset them anymore. – [Man] One of the things
Mrs. Cugini did for Earth Week was to help college students
promote a pollution bus tour. – Your bank accepted
this poster to be put up so that the people would see it. It’s an Earth Week activity, the Philadelphia Pollution Trail Bus Tour in which the people are
going to get a very close up, solid look at all the
chemicals spewing out of our industrial boilers and all of the gases pouring out that they don’t seem to realize
yet are going to kill them. We want the people involved. So this is to show them
the chemicals coming out, to show them that it isn’t stopping. And they have to fight to make it do so. It’s a very depressing ride. But it’s meant to be. – [Man] And even the
churches were prepared to do something about
the depressing condition of the city’s air and water. This was the Salem-Zion
United Church of Christ and its pastor, Paul Hetrich, on Sunday. – The church also is
involved in Earth Week because some of its poor theology has helped to cause the
ecological imbalance that we are facing in nature today. We have always, for the
last several hundred years, addressed ourselves to
the theme of progress as a theological principle. And we have believed and affirmed that those people who do progress, God certainly is blessing. And because we have progressed
and not thought about the ways, the methods that we were using in order to progress, to
grow into our technological expertise, we have plundered. We have raped. We have begun to lay
the Earth in desolation. – (in unison) We have
helped to foul up Your air, pollute Your streams
and clutter Your Earth with trash and gadgets. And we have destroyed many
of Your living creatures. Your forests have been cut down and the Earth’s resources
plundered without concern for the generations and the times to come. Now our hearts are heavy with
sorrow for what we have done, but not before our sinuses and lungs warned us of great dangers. And our eyes told us
that some of the beauty has gone out of Your Earth.

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