As April marks the start of ‘Earth Day’ month, we thought it was only fitting to take a look back and see how this day, celebrated by millions around the world, got its start.
Earth Day was enacted on April 22nd, 1970, an idea that was born after former US Wisconsin Senator, Gaylord Nelson, observed the environmental damages caused by the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. The first Earth Day commenced with 20 million Americans rallying for political environmental awareness and action. As a result, not long after the first Earth Day, Washington created the Environmental Protection Agency, and passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
Today, Earth Day has grown from a national trend to an international movement, spearheaded by the Earth Day Network (EDN), active in 190 countries worldwide. Earth Day also serves as a communal beacon, promoting proper environmental education within schools and other organizations via one of its main partnerships, the US Green Building Council.
Its most recent initiative, “A Billion Acts of Green”, encourages communities and individuals to commit to environmental services, and over 40 million actions have already been pledged. Those who wish to commit can do anything as simple as unplugging electronics when not in use, carpooling, using public transit, or organizing a beach clean-up within their local neighborhood.
Earth Day and the EDN teach us that if each person does something small and simple to help our planet that it will all add up to one significant change for the better. Let’s make this year’s Earth Day just as spectacular as the ones before by simply pledging to do our best, and to make sure that our best makes a positive impact for future generations.