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The History of Earth Day

The History of Earth Day

Earth day is celebrated on the twenty second of April each year, and has become the largest non-religious observance around the world. Earth day had humble beginnings as a day to preserve the environment in the United States, and has now become the largest push for a cleaner and healthier planet - and is celebrated across the entire world. Earth Day is important to show that everyone can make a difference to the planet in a positive way. 

History of Earth Day

During the 1970’s, the United States was experiencing a period of division, both economically and politically. During this time, the country was divided over it’s participation in the Vietnam War, and at the same time the economy was experiencing a boom. This boom however, had an adverse effect on the environment. Industries such as automobiles, chemical plants and oil were seeing huge growth, but that also went hand in hand with the production of air pollution and waste. Back then, the health of the environment wasn’t at the forefront of our minds like it is today, and many people were unaware of the damages this economical growth could have on the planet. 

Some people were however, and as they became aware of the effects on the environment around then, began to inform the public, and get the message across. Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson was one of these individuals, who was spurred on in 1969 after a devastating oil spill in California caused even more damage to the environment. His idea was for a national teach-in on the environment, which he introduced in 1970. He created a team of 85 people, including congressmen and academics to help to promote his ‘Earth Day’ across the entire country, and on April the twenty second in 1970, the very first earth day was celebrated in the United States. 

This celebration included over 20 million people around the entire United States gathering together to hold demonstrations, rallies, protests and other activities with the goal of promoting a cleaner, safer environment for us to live in. This first Earth Day gathered people of all ages, from children, students and adults, who all pushed the government for legislation that would protect the Earth.

Surprisingly, opposing political parties, and everyone from different social and economic backgrounds showed unity during Earth Day, and came together to spread the message of protecting the planet. After this first Earth Day, the United States Environmental Protection Agency was founded. As well as this, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act were all introduced and passed. This was the start of major changes to help improve the environment. 

For the next few decades, Earth Day continued to be celebrated across the United States, and it’s main aim was to find practical ways to protect the environment. However, in the 1990’s, the movement took on a global scale. In 1990, more than 200 million people across 141 countries across the planet came together on April 22nd to celebrate Earth Day, and push for more environmental improvements across the entire world. This global event eventually paved the way for further events, including the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit. 

So why do we celebrate Earth Day?

Since 1970, Earth Day has been growing and growing to become a now global phenomenon, one event to promote clean living and a healthier planet, for people and animals alike. Annually celebrating Earth Day is a conscious reminder of just how fragile the planet can be, and how vitally important it is to protect it. Thanks to the first Earth Day in 1970, we are so much more actually aware of the implications of our actions on our environment, and are aware of what actions we can take to protect our planet in our everyday life.  

Earth Day is the day of the year that is dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the planet. Last year, over 1 billion people participated in Earth Day in some way, which made it the largest observance in the world. The significance of Earth Day has grown each year, as we witness more and more of the effects of climate change and environmental damage on both our day to day lives, and the planet. We’re witnessing things like food shortages, fuel price hikes, increased global warming and weather changes. Earth Day helps to inform the public about the causes of these things, and helps everyone to be conscious about the ways they can have an impact on them too.

Earth Day brings about ideas like more ways to recycle and conserve energy; to events like tree planting; or spreading knowledge about reducing air pollution. There are so many ideas, both big and small that are presented during Earth Day celebrations that can help to improve our planet - and that everyone can get involved and onboard with. 

It’s not just individual - even big companies are getting involved with Earth Day, and encouraging their employees to help be more environmentally friendly. Earth Day can help inform business owners about things like car pooling, using renewable energy, and being mindful of electricity usage. There’s lots of initiatives that companies can learn about and take on that Earth Day will help to inform about.

Why don’t you celebrate Earth Day this year, and find out the ways in which you can make changes, both big and small, to help improve the planet we live in for everyone?

By Amy Cavill

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Earth Yoga with Denelle Numis

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