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A brief history of the importance of Earth Day


Each year on April 22nd, people worldwide unite to observe Earth Day, a special occasion aimed at raising awareness about the environment and encouraging action for its protection. The first Earth Day took place in 1970, organized by senators Gaylord Nelson and Pete McCloskey, along with activist Denis Hayes, who orchestrated national demonstrations to highlight environmental concerns. Prior to this, environmental activism was relatively unknown, and there were no established government programs or protections for environmental conservation. However, a significant oil spill in 1969 brought the need for environmental protection to the forefront of public attention, as well as caught the attention of Nelson. 

The event was originally intended to be a teach-in for college students. The date of April 22 was between Spring Break and Final Exams, so that student participation would be at its peak. However, Hayes wanted to get all Americans involved in environmental activism, and built a national staff to rally organizations, schools, and faith groups. Hayes efforts paid off, and nearly 20 million Americans participated in Earth Day by taking to the streets, parks, and other public places to protest and raise awareness to the toll humans were taking on the environment.  

Since then, Earth Day has evolved into a worldwide movement involving millions of individuals from all walks of life. It serves as a platform for people, organizations, and schools to collaborate and take action on a wide range of environmental issues, including climate change, waste management, biodiversity conservation, and environmental degradation. Earth Day events can range from large-scale protests and global conferences to smaller, individual actions like conserving electricity, recycling waste, and planting trees. 

It is important to recognize the significance of Earth Day, as well as to keep the conversations about our environment year-round. Our planet is irreplaceable, and we have a responsibility to protect it for future generations. As you observe Earth Day, reflect on your actions and their environmental impacts, and strive to make positive contributions for the health of the planet. Together, we can work towards a sustainable and thriving future for our planet and all its inhabitants.

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Davinson, Rose. “History of Earth Day.” National Geographic Kids, National Geographic Partners, LLC, https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/celebrations/article/earth-day

“The History of Earth Day.” Earth Day, https://www.earthday.org/history/

“EPA History: Earth Day.” EPA, 1 August 2022, https://www.epa.gov/history/epa-history-earth-day#:~:text=The%20First%20Earth%20Day%20in%20April%201970&text=Because%20there%20was%20no%20EPA,issue%20onto%20the%20national%20agenda.



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