April 22, 1970
The First Earth Day
On this day in history, the United States celebrated Earth Day for the first time. Senator Gaylord Nelson, of Wisconsin, created this event to help increase public awareness of the world’s environmental problems. Millions of Americans participated in the First Earth Day by hosting rallies, marches, and educational programs.
Senator Nelson was an environmentalist who hoped to provide unity to the grassroots environmental movement and increase awareness.
“The objective was to get a nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake the political establishment out of its lethargy,” Senator Nelson said, “and, finally, force this issue permanently onto the national political agenda.”
Earth Day indeed increased environmental awareness in America, and in July of that year the Environmental Protection Agency was established by special executive order to regulate and enforce national pollution legislation.
On April 22, 1990, the 20th anniversary of Earth Day, more than 200 million people in 141 countries participated in Earth Day celebrations.
Every year, since 1990, more than one billion people have taken part in Earth Day. Across the globe, individuals, communities, organizations, and governments acknowledge the amazing planet we call home and take action to protect it.
Earth Day 2013: The Face of Climate Change
Climate change has many faces, and they are not only human faces. Many people are relocating due to sea levels rising. Farmers are struggling as drought ravages their crops. Fishermen are coming home with empty nets. People are losing their homes, and sometimes their lives, to earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters that seem to be multiplying day by day. Animals are facing some of the same dangers.
Most people do not believe in climate change, or see it as a distant threat for the future. Others know that climate change is real, with real consequences and effects. It is these people who play their part in Climate Change by creating a new green economy, organize community action and awareness campaigns, design clean technology for the future, and committing to living sustainably.
Today, April 22, 2013, more than one billion people around the world will take part in the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day. Communities everywhere will voice their concerns for the planet, and take action to protect it. We hope to inspire our leaders to act and inspire others to join in the fight against climate change. Will you join us and show your face as part of the Face of Climate Change?