April 22nd is Earth Day, a day where we take a minute to be grateful for this planet and the amazing natural resources we’ve benefited from.
It’s also a day where we do our best to make sure future generations can continue to enjoy those resources. Maybe you’ll leave some lights off, ride a bike to work, or start using recycled material. Whatever you choose, Earth Day 2019 is a great way to jumpstart some new habits. To give you some motivation, here are some Earth Day fun facts.
Earth Day was inspired by Vietnam war protesters
It was started in 1970 by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson. He noticed people protesting the Vietnam War but not putting any pressure on government about the damage being done to the planet via contaminants like oil spills, pesticides and deadly smog.
The date was chosen to appeal to college students
April 22nd was chosen intentionally by Senator Nelson and grad student Denis Hayes (who went on to internationalize Earth Day and start the Earth Day Network among other foundations). They strategically selected April 22 in order to attract more college students, who were known for being politically active during that era of protest. The date fell between spring break and final exams.
This American holiday had a strong start
20 million Americans celebrated the first Earth Day in 1970. It has since grown and has been celebrated in more than 192 countries by over one billion civic-minded supporters.
Other countries know it as “International Mother Earth Day”
That’s the name it was given by the United Nations in 2009. Here in the United States, we still call it plain old Earth Day.
The Earth Day movement drove the creation of the EPA
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was approved by President Richard Nixon in 1970 as a result of the Earth Day movement. Legislation on clean air, clean water, toxic substances, and endangered species were passed, too.
Earth Day has its own theme song
The Earth Day Anthem was written in 2013 by Indian poet Abhay Kumar and has since been recorded in all official UN languages.
Earth day is the largest secular civic event in the world
A massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California inspired Senator Nelson to organize a national “teach-in” day to educate the public about environmental issues.
Each year, the Earth Day theme changes
In 1990, the spotlight was on global mobilization of environmental issues with a strong focus on recycling. In 2000, it was about global warming and clean energy. 2010 marked the world’s largest environmental service project—A Billion Acts of Green—as well as a 250,000 person climate change rally in Washington DC. This year’s campaign is to End Plastic Pollution, an effort to eliminate single-use plastics.