What’s Earth Day All About, Anyway?


Written by Tracy Van Wagner.

The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970. Americans were becoming more aware of the many ways in which their actions were harming the environment. Inspired by the energy of the student anti-war movement, Wisconsin Senator, Democrat Gaylord Nelson, decided to organize a “national teach-in on the environment” with his Republican co-chair, Pete McCloskey. Twenty million Americans participated in various Earth Day demonstrations across the country. It united groups that were fighting against various environmental harms, such as oil spills, factory pollution, and extinction. Earth Day 1970 united liberals and conservatives, rich and poor, and urban and rural individuals, and was supported by both Democrats and Republicans. The Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act, all resulted from Earth Day 1970. Earth Day became an annual, international event in 1990.

Earth Day is the largest civic observance in the world and is currently lead by the Earth Day Network. On Earth Day, billions of people all over the world unite for a common cause: to protect the environment and preserve the earth for future generations. They advocate for policy changes through demonstrations, petitions, and dialogue with politicians. Other events are focused on educating people about environmental harms and the actions that people can take to help the environment. People also participate in events aimed at improving their local environment, such as planting trees, tending community gardens, and cleaning up litter.

Earth Day 2018 is focused on ending plastic pollution. End Plastic Pollution is a multi-year campaign working to educate people about the dangers of plastic pollution, to diminish the use of plastics in favor of safer alternatives, and to promote a 100% recycling rate for plastics. The End Plastic Pollution campaign will also promote public policies in regard to the responsible use of plastics, disposal of plastics, and reduction of the use of plastics.

Join us Sunday for a walk at Parkers Woods to get outside and enjoy the fresh air in celebration of Earth Day.