22 April : Earth Day

22 April : Earth Day

Every year on 22 April, Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.

In the decades leading up to the first Earth Day, Americans consumed vast quantities of leaded gas through massive and inefficient automobiles. The industry was spewing smoke and mud without fear of consequences either from the law or from the bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity.



Senator Gaylord Nelson, the junior senator from Wisconsin, has long been concerned about the deteriorating environment in the United States.

In January 1969, he and many others witnessed the devastation of a huge oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, Senator Nelson wanted to inspire the energy of student anti-war protests with the emerging public consciousness of air and water pollution. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a teaching on campuses to the national media and persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican congressman, to co-sponsor it. They hired Denis Hayes, a young activist, to organise the teachings at the universities and chose April 22nd, a weekday that fell between spring break and final exams, to maximise student participation.


As 1990 approached, a group of environmental leaders approached Denis Hayes to organize another major campaign for the planet. This time, Earth Day went global, mobilising 200 million people in 141 countries and bringing environmental issues to the global forefront. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.


Today, Earth Day is widely recognised as the world’s largest event, marked by more than a billion people each year as a day of action to change human behaviour and create global, national and local political change.

Right now, the fight for a clean environment continues with increasing urgency as the ravages of climate change become more and more evident every day.

As the awareness of our climate crisis grows, so does the mobilisation of civil society, which is growing around the world. Frustrated by the low level of ambition since the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015 and disillusioned by international environmental lethargy, the world’s citizens are rising up to demand much more action for our planet and its people.


Source: earthday.org

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