Each year, more than 1 billion people around the world participate in Earth Day activities to promote and encourage concern for the environment.
Earth Day has been observed every year on April 22 since 1970 when then Wisconsin senator, Gaylord Nelson, founded the day to create public awareness of water and air pollution. For the past 42 years, that awareness has helped create programs, laws and agencies such as the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species acts. The first Earth Day celebration prompted the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Dec. 2, 1970.
The 1970s continued an era of collegiate protestors against war, oil spills, factory pollution and power plants, toxic dumps, pesticides and the extinction of wildlife.
The EPA, largely influenced by the success of Earth Day, formed as a way to bridge together all of the environmental concerns with one agency working to facilitate and enact change for a healthier environment.
By 1990, Earth Day went global reaching 200 million people in 141 countries, putting environmental issues at the forefront of the world’s agenda. Recycling programs in the 1990s also saw a dramatic boost as a result of global action and initiatives. And as recent as 2000, Earth Day activists pushed new items on the agenda: global warming and action for clean energy.
For information about Earth Day, go to www.earthday.org.