Earth Day is an event created to celebrate the planet’s environment and raise public awareness about pollution.
It is on April 22nd every year and is celebrated worldwide with rallies, conferences, outdoor activities and service projects.
The first Earth Day was in 1970 and was proposed by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin.
After seeing the damage caused by a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in 1969, he was inspired to educate the public about the environment.
Senator Nelson died in 2005 but his famous day lives on.
In 1995, President Bill Clinton awarded Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom for being the founder of Earth Day. This is the highest honour given to civilians in the United States.
Earth Day created public support for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and contributed to the creation of the following Acts:
The Clean Air Act
The Water Quality Improvement Act
The Endangered Species Act, and several other environmental laws.
In 1990, Earth Day went global, and 200 million people in 141 countries took part in the event.
Earth Day 2000 included 5,000 environmental groups and 184 countries.
In 2010, for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, 225,000 people gathered at the National Mall for a climate rally.
In 2012 Earth Day achieved their goal of planting 1 billion trees
Although Earth Day has become popular, surveys show that people may be losing interest in environmentalism.
According to recent polls, 42 percent of people believe that the dangers of climate change are exaggerated, and less than half say that protecting the environment is more important than energy production.
But Earth Day is still important because it reminds people to think about humanity’s values, the threats the planet faces and ways to help protect the environment.
What will YOU do to help save our planet?