Earth DayEarth Day, event first observed internationally on April 22, 1970, to emphasize the necessity for the conservation of the world's natural resources. Starting as a student-led campus movement, initially observed on March 21, Earth Day has become a major educational and media event. Environmentalists use it as an occasion to sum up current environmental problems of the planet: the pollution of air, water, and soils; the destruction of habitats; the decimation of hundreds of thousands of plant and animal species; and the depletion of nonrenewable resources. The emphasis is on solutions that will slow and possibly reverse the negative effects of human activities. Such solutions include recycling of manufactured materials, fuel and energy conservation, banning the use of harmful chemicals, halting the destruction of major habitats such as rain forests, and protecting endangered species.
EARTH DAY is an annual observance, held on April 22, to increase public awareness of environmental problems. Each year on Earth Day, millions of people throughout the world gather to clean up litter, to protest threats to the environment, and to celebrate progress in reducing pollution.
Earth Day began in the United States. In 1969, U.S. Senator Gaylord A. Nelson suggested that a day of environmental education be held on college campuses. The following year, the lawyer and environmentalist Denis Hayes, then a recent graduate of Stanford University, led hundreds of students in planning and organizing the first Earth Day. About 20 million people participated in the original observance on April 22, 1970.
The first Earth Day in 1970 helped alert people to the dangers of pollution and stimulated a new environmental movement. That same year, Congress created the Environmental protection Agency to set and enforce pollution standards. Congress also passed the Clean Air Act of 1970, which limited the amount of air pollution that cars, utilities, and industries could release. Other new environmental laws soon followed.
Happy Earth Day to You!