Earth Day is a wonderful holiday for celebrating the coming Spring and dedicating time to learn about and participate in contributing to the health of our planet. Whether you’re spending your Earth Day planting a garden or volunteering for trash pick-up, or taking a pledge to reduce your ecological footprint year-round, these fun facts are sure to lift your eco-friendly spirit!
The Origin of Earth Day
- Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22, 1970. That makes the holiday 44 years old this year.
- The inspiration for the holiday came from an oil spill in California in 1969.
- US Senator Gaylord Nelson is the founder of Earth Day.
- The first Earth Day was treated as an environmental protest to the effects of pollution.
- In its first year, Earth Day had 20 million participants.
- Earth Day originated in the USA, but within twenty years was recognized worldwide.
- Earth Day has been believed to bring environmental issues to the forefront in politics and is sometimes credited for bringing forth the environmental movement.
- The environmental movement of 1970 is what fueled the rise of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Earth Day Now
- Earth Day has now been expanded to be celebrated as Earth Week, which starts April 16 and lasts until Earth Day, April 22.
- Every year, Earth Day is celebrated by over one billion people around the world.
- Now up to 80% of Americans describe themselves as bring environmentally conscious.
- Earth Day Network has been working to encourage more long-term environmental commitments as large-scale problems like the effects of climate change and global warming have been in the forecast.
- Earth Day Network is allied with about 100,000 schools around the US and integrate environmental issues into school curriculums all year long.
Ways to Contribute to Earth Day… and environmental health year-round!
- Plant a new tree or start a garden.
- Start composting.
- Participate in a community clean up event.
- Lower your energy consumption by turning off all the lights in your home for an hour each evening.
- Opt to take public transportation, carpool, walk or travel by bicycle when possible.
- Support local and organic farming.
- Reduce or eliminate meat and other animal products from your diet to conserve up to billions of gallons of water and pounds of grain each year.
- Buy used items such as electronics and clothing when possible to reduce your footprint.
- Buy a water filter or purifier and reduce your amount of bottled beverages.
- Pledge to utilize your community’s recycling resources.
- Buy biodegradable trash bags, or items packaged in biodegradable or recycled packaging, when possible.
- Pledge to use reusable grocery bags, napkins, baby diapers, etc.
- Donate and support agencies and companies who use practices that are loyal to environmental conservation.
- Take the Billion Acts of Green Pledge.
*John Roach, “Earth Day Facts: What it is, How it Began, and What to Do,” news.nationalgeographic.com
* “Facts for Features: Earth Day,” census.gov
* “11 Facts About Earth Day,” dosomething.org