About Earth Day

Widely celebrated on April 22 every year, Earth Day is dedicated to appreciating the beauty of Earth and spreading awareness about issues that threaten it.

The History of Earth Day

It was peace activist John McConnell who proposed the idea of dedicating a day to honor the Earth during the 1969 UNESCO Conference in San Francisco. The first such celebration was originally supposed to be on the first day of Spring, generally on or around March 21, 1970. However, United States Senator Gaylord Nelson founded a separate day as an environmental teach-in - April 22, 1970. Ever since then, April 22 has been celebrated as Earth Day every year.

This day also led to the formation of the Earth Day Network (EDN) that today works with 22,000 partners in 192 countries to organize activities to promote a healthier environment.

All About Earth Day History
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Earth Day Celebrations - Highlights

Earth Day 1970

On this landmark day, 20 million Americans participated in peaceful demonstrations for environmental reform. Different groups that were fighting against environmental problems such as oil spills, polluting factories, toxic dumps, pesticides, extinction of wildlife, etc., came together as one. This day saw the rich and poor, Republicans and Democrats, join hands in support.

Earth Day 1990

Dennis Hayes, the national coordinator of the movement in 1970, made Earth Day a global phenomenon in 1990. Recycling efforts received a major boost and saw an incredible participation from 141 countries around the world.

Earth Day 2000

With the arrival of the millennium, the focus was on global warming and the need for clean energy. Organizers relied heavily on the internet to unite activists from all over the world. Earth Day 2000 celebrations also featured a talking drum chain that traveled from village to village. The message was loud and clear – citizens around the world demanded quick action on clean energy.

Earth Day 2010

With the passing of time came an increase in challenges. A disinterested public, greedy industrialists and passive politicians posed a bigger challenge. But, the Earth Day Network’s efforts at keeping the focus on the environment strong saw 225,000 people come together at the National Mall for a Climate Rally and its online base crossed 900,000 members.

Earth Day Activities

The Earth Day Network’s tireless efforts at highlighting environmental problems and the need for healthier surroundings encompass many activities. Events on greening schools, promoting peaceful activism against air and water pollution, and creating green jobs are some of the activities and goals that the EDN strives to accomplish. Typical Earth Day activities involve planting trees, clearing trash on the roads, organizing programs on recycling and conservation, spreading awareness in various organizations, schools and colleges, and calling for strict action against acts that cause environmental harm.

Earth Day Facts

Here are some interesting facts about Earth Day.

  1. Men, women and kids come together every Earth Day and plant trees, collect garbage, sign petitions, watch documentaries and movies about the Earth, and plan for a better future for our planet.
  2. In 2012, more than 100,000 people in China rode bikes on Earth Day to reduce CO2 emissions and save fuel.
  3. In many schools, Earth Day is the third most popular holiday activity-wise (after Christmas and Halloween).
  4. The Earth Day Network planted 28 million trees in Afghanistan on Earth Day 2011.
  5. Recycling saves 3 to 5 times the energy that waste incinerator power plants generate.

Each one of us can make a big difference in preserving the beauty of Mother Nature and keeping our planet healthy. The determined efforts of people like John McConnell and Senator Gaylord Nelson to identify potential threats to the environment and implement practices to safeguard nature should not go in vain. Let’s use Earth Day to do our bit and teach our kids the importance of respecting our surroundings.

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