April is an exciting month for all. The first signs of spring appear as wildflowers pop up, the weather starts to get warmer, and the sun starts to shine a little brighter. Spring is also a wonderful time to celebrate our planet Earth, and to learn more about its importance, and why we all need to work to protect it. This year, Seaside Sustainability is hosting a month long series to celebrate Earth Day. Before we kick off Seaside Sustainability’s Earth Awareness Month, it is important to reflect back on the history of Earth Day and learn how it has become an annual global event to support environmental protection and advocacy.
Earth Day’s History
Senator Gaylord Nelson, a democrat from Wisconsin, founded Earth Day. Inspired by the anti-war protests and teach-ins during the 1960s, Nelson hoped to channel this energy into a national teach-in about the environment. He recognized the serious environmental consequences of air and water pollution in the United States, and hoped that a national demonstration would bring environmental issues to the forefront of the public agenda. In 1969, Nelson revealed his concept for Earth Day at a conference, and recruited Denis Hayes, a student activist, to organize the grassroots environmental demonstration.
The first Earth Day garnered overwhelming support and participation because it provided a national platform for the public to voice their environmental concerns. On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans participated in demonstrations that occurred in many large cities including Los Angeles and Chicago. This demonstration created a public sphere where individuals could freely discuss environmental issues and raise awareness about the impact of pollution on the environment and public health. Ultimately, the event motivated the government to add environmental issues to their political agenda. In the years following the first Earth Day, a series of important environmental acts were passed including the Clean Air Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Water Quality Improvement Act. In December 1970, the government also established the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a federal agency dedicated to protecting environmental and public health.
Today, Earth Day is recognized as “the largest secular observance in the world.” In 2009, the United National General Assembly formally recognized April 22nd as International Mother Earth Day. Every year, more than a billion people in over 190 countries engage in demonstrations, rallies, educational events and other activities on Earth Day to raise public awareness about environmental issues. This event is an important day of awareness as it encourages people around the world to educate themselves and take action to protect the environment.
What Are We Doing to Celebrate Earth Day?
Every week, starting next Monday, April 5th, we will be posting informational resources about ways to protect the environment through education and action. We encourage you to stay tuned on our blog and social media accounts so that you can celebrate Earth Day with us! Make sure to also check out our website on Earth Day for the surprise release of an important guide that will help you and your community become more sustainable.
We cannot wait to begin Earth Awareness Month next week. In the comments below, share how you like to celebrate Earth Day and why this holiday is important to you!