On the occasion of the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, an estimated 20 million people participated in demonstrations and other events. The national teach-in, organized by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, represented either the birth of the modern environmental movement or the last gasp of the ’60s—take your pick—but it’s clear that the cultural and political ground had shifted. That year, the Environmental Protection Agency was established and the Clean Air Act signed into law. Later in the decade, a new generation of architects and designers began exploring solar power and other sustainable building practices, fueled in part by a spike in energy prices.
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