What is Earth Day?

Earth Day takes place each year on the 22nd of April. It is a global environmental movement with more than 192 nations taking part across the world, united with one goal in mind: to celebrate our earth and the environment.

The first Earth Day affected some major environmental polices in the United States, which led to the creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency and paved the way for the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species acts to be introduced.

The History Of Earth Day

Earth Day was started by Gaylord Nelson, then a US Senator from Wisconsin in 1970. After witnessing many environmental disasters, including a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara in 1969, he became deeply concerned about the environmental problems facing the nation – and the world.

English: Picture of the Governor of Wisconsin ...
Governor of Wisconsin Gaylord Nelson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Inspired by the anti-war movement of the 60s, and the teach-ins that were held across college campuses by Vietnam protesters, Nelson decided to create Earth Day as a way to raise awareness and gain public support for environmental issues.

The goal was to raise awareness among other US politicians and to have these issues added to the national agenda, forcing them into the ‘limelight’. The movement gained support and soon twenty million Americans could be seen demonstrating across the USA. This led to the US government creating a new federal agency, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in December 1970 to tackle these issues.

In 1990, Earth Day went global, mobilising 200 million people across 141 countries and taking environmental issues to the world stage.

That year, Earth Day focused on recycling efforts around the world and paved the way for President Clinton to award Gaylord Nelson with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honour that can be given to a US civilian for his role as Earth Day founder.

Earth Day Facts

On the 22nd of April each year Earth Day is celebrated around the world with more than 192 countries taking part in the celebrations and showing support.  Here are some basic facts about Earth Day that will help you appreciate our planet, and the environment:

  • Earth Day was first organised in 1970 and celebrated on April 22nd
  • It was founded by US Senator Gaylord Nelson
  • Earth Day Networks estimates that 500 million people from 4,500 organisations in 192 countries will participate in Earth Day events during the month of April
  • It originated in the US and became globally recognised in 1990
  • 20 million people gathered in the street across America on the first Earth Day
  • Earth Day was renamed Mother Earth Day in 2009 by the UN
  • In 2011, 28 million trees were planted in Afghanistan by the Earth Day Network
  • In 2009 Disney Nature Films released a documentary for Earth Day called Earth; in 2014 they will release a new film called Bears

What You Can Do To Promote Earth Day

There are many ways that you can show support and celebrate Earth Day, so we have decided to share with you just a few of the ways that you can participate in the celebrations; we have also created a fantastic infographic that highlights some of the ways you can support Earth Day, every day!

  • Reduce waste by setting up a compost bin in your garden
  • Plant a tree
  • Volunteer your time to support the environment
  • Go paperless
  • Leave your car at home
  • Learn more about the environment
  • Buy eco friendly cleaning products
  • Wear green
  • Save energy, turn off lights etc when not in use

What Is Earth Day infographic

Got any more ideas? Let us know in the comments!


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