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There’s no doubt we all take Mother Earth for granted. We have been given a beautiful planet to call home, and sometimes we need a reminder of how to treat her right.
Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970. He was later awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of his work. Nelson hoped to raise public awareness of the dangers of pollution. Today, the holiday has turned into something much bigger.
The first Earth Day succeeded in bringing nationwide awareness of environmental issues and transforming public attitudes. “When polled in May 1971, 25 percent of the U.S. public declared protecting the environment to be an important goal, a 2,500 percent increase over 1969,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
We’ve come a long way since the very first Earth Day. By 1990, the holiday had gone global, with 200 million people in more than 140 nations participating. By 2000, the holiday honed in on clean energy, involving hundreds of millions of people in 184 countries and 5,000 environmental groups. Today, the Earth Day Network is made up of 17,000 partners and organizations in 174 countries. There are approximately 1 billion people in 192 countries that now take part in what is the largest civic-focused day of action in the world.
According to the official Earth Day website:
“It is a day of political action and civic participation. People march, sign petitions, meet with their elected officials, plant trees, clean up their towns and roads. Corporations and governments use it to make pledges and announce sustainability measures. Faith leaders, including Pope Francis, connect Earth Day with protecting God’s greatest creations, humans, biodiversity and the planet that we all live on.”
Earth Day 2019 is themed “Protect Our Species,” and will focus on protecting threatened and endangered species. If you want to get involved, you can join one of more than 1,300 cleanups happening around the U.S. Also be sure to search for “Earth Day Events” followed by the name of your city to get the best, most up-to-date information on events happening near you.
Earth Day 2020 will be the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, so start planning an event now!