Earth Day is a global day of action for environmental concerns. Whether it encourages your family to mind water or electricity use for one day, or kickstart an eco-friendlier lifestyle altogether, no one can disagree that Earth Day is impactful. In fact, immediately following the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 came the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air Act. Soon after came the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and many more critical environmental policies.
Want to learn more about this environmentally focused day? Here are 3 more facts you might not have known about Earth Day.
Earth Day was initially a way to teach others about environmental dangers.
Environmental policy wasn’t high on senators’ priority lists back in the 1960s. When Wisconsin Governor Gaylord Nelson noticed this, he decided to introduce a teach-in, drawing inspiration from the youth groups of the ‘60s who were advocating for social change. Earth Day was designed to gather public support that would, hopefully, convince his fellow senators to enact environmental policies. The idea was so successful that Nelson had to hire an 85-person team to execute the very first Earth Day.
20 million Americans celebrated the first Earth Day.
Nelson held the first Earth Day on April 22nd on purpose: that’s when his core demographic, students, were finishing up their last few weeks of school and, in his opinion, might be more likely to rally behind his cause. He was correct – huge, inspirational rallies were held across the nation. Yet, it wasn’t just students who got behind Earth Day. In total, approximately 10 percent of the American population, or 20 million people, celebrated the very first Earth Day.
Earth Day went global in 1990.
On Earth Day’s 20th anniversary in 1990, organizers chose to take the movement worldwide. That year, 200 million people in 141 countries participated. As a result, environmental initiatives were jumpstarted around the world. Earth Day 1990 also paved the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Needless to say, Earth Day has been instrumental in plenty of environmental change, both in the United States and abroad!
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