Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First celebrated in 1970, it now includes events coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network[1] in more than 193 countries.
In 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco, peace activist John McConnell proposed a day to honor the Earth and the concept of peace, to first be celebrated on March 21, 1970, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. This day of nature's equipoise was later sanctioned in a proclamation written by McConnell and signed by Secretary General U Thant at the United Nations. A month later a United States Senator Gaylord Nelson proposed the idea to hold a nationwide environmental teach-in on April 22, 1970. He hired a young activist, Denis Hayes, to be the National Coordinator. Nelson and Hayes renamed the event “Earth Day.” Nelson was later awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom award in recognition of his work.[3] The first Earth Day was focused on the United States. In 1990, Denis Hayes, the original national coordinator in 1970, took it international and organized events in 141 nations.
On Earth Day 2016, the landmark Paris Agreement was signed by the United States, China, and some 120 other countries. This signing satisfied a key requirement for the entry into force of the historic draft climate protection treaty adopted by consensus of the 195 nations present at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.
Numerous communities celebrate Earth Day Week, an entire week of activities focused on the environmental issues that the world faces
Earth Day has been celebrated every April 22nd since 1970. The main aim of Earth Day is to raise awareness on the negative impact our actions as mankind have on our environment and earth as a whole, and is a day for political action and civic participation


Every year on April 22, Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.
As we prepare to mark 50 years of Earth Day in 2020, let’s take a look at the last half-century of mobilization for action:


Earth Day 1970 gave a voice to an emerging public consciousness about the state of our planet — 
In the decades leading up to the first Earth Day, Americans were consuming vast amounts of leaded gas through massive and inefficient automobiles. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of the consequences from either the law or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. Until this point, mainstream America remained largely oblivious to environmental concerns and how a polluted environment threatens human health.


Senator Gaylord Nelson, a junior senator from Wisconsin,
had long been concerned about the deteriorating environment
 in the United States.  Then in January 1969, he
 and many others witnessed the ravages of a massive 
oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.  Inspired by the
 student anti-war movement, Senator Nelson wanted to
infuse the energy of student anti-war protests with an
emerging public consciousness about air and water
pollution. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a teach-in
on college campuses to the national media, and persuaded
 Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman,
 to serve as his co-chair.  They recruited Denis Hayes, a young activist, to organize the campus teach-ins and they choose April 22, a weekday falling between
 Spring Break and Final Exams, to maximize the greatest student
Recognizing its potential to inspire all Americans, Hayes built a
 national staff of 85 to promote events across the land and the effort
 soon broadened to include a wide range of organizations,
faith groups, and others.  They changed the name to Earth Day,
 which immediately sparked national media attention, and caught
 on across the country.  Earth Day inspired 20 million Americans —
 at the time, 10% of the total population of the United States —
to take to the streets, parks and auditoriums to demonstrate
 against the impacts of 150 years of industrial development which
 had left a growing legacy of serious human health impacts.
 Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the
deterioration of the environment and there were massive coast-to-coast rallies in cities, towns, and communities.

Groups that had been fighting
 individually against oil spills,
 polluting factories and power 
plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps,
 pesticides, freeways, the loss
 of wilderness and the extinction
 of wildlife united on Earth Day
 around these shared 
common values. Earth
 Day 1970 achieved a rare 
political alignment, enlisting 
support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, urban 
dwellers and farmers, business and labor leaders. By the end of 
1970, the first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States
 Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of other 
first of their kind environmental laws, including the National
 Environmental Education Act,  the Occupational Safety and 
Health Act, and the Clean Air Act.  Two years later Congress
 passed the Clean Water Act.  A year after that, Congress passed
 the Endangered Species Act and soon after the Federal 
Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. These laws have
 protected millions of men, women and children from disease
 and death and have protected hundreds of species from extinction.


As 1990 approached, a group of environmental leaders approached
 Denis Hayes to once again organize another major campaign for
 the planet. This time, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million
 people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the
 world stage. 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. It also prompted
 President Bill Clinton to award Senator Nelson the Presidentia
l Medal of Freedom — the highest honor given to civilians in the
United States — for his role as Earth Day founder.


As the millennium approached, Hayes agreed to spearhead another
 campaign, this time focused on global warming and a push
 for clean energy. With 5,000 environmental groups in a record
 184 countries reaching out to hundreds of millions of people,
 Earth Day 2000 built both global and local conversations,
leveraging the power of the Internet to organize activists
around the world, while also featuring a drum chain that
 traveled from village to village in Gabon, Africa. Hundreds of
thousands of people also gathered on the National Mall in
Washington, DC for a First Amendment Rally. 
30 years on, Earth Day 2000 sent world leaders a loud and clear
message: Citizens around the world wanted quick and decisive
 action on global warming and clean energy.


As in 1970, Earth Day 2010 came at a time of great challenge
 for the environmental community to combat the cynicism of climate
change deniers, well-funded oil lobbyists, reticent politicians, a
 disinterested public, and a divided environmental community
with the collective power of global environmental activism. In the
face of these challenges, Earth Day prevailed and Earth Day
 Network reestablished Earth Day as a major moment for global
 action for the environment.
Over the decades, Earth Day Network has brought hundreds
of millions of people into the environmental movement, creating
opportunities for civic engagement and volunteerism in 193
 countries.  Earth Day engages more than 1 billion people
 every year and has become a major stepping stone along
the pathway of engagement around the protection of the planet. 


Today, Earth Day is widely recognized as the largest secular 
observance in the world, marked by more than a billion people
 every year as a day of action to change human behavior and
 create global, national and local policy changes.
Now, the fight for a clean environment continues with increasing
 urgency, as the ravages of climate change become more and more
 apparent every day. 
As the awareness of our climate crisis grows, so does civil society
 mobilization, which is reaching a fever pitch across the globe today
. Disillusioned by the low level of ambition following the adoption of
 the Paris Agreement in 2015 and frustrated with international
 environmental lethargy, citizens of the world are rising up to 
demand far greater action for our planet and its people. 
The social and cultural environments we saw in 1970 are rising
 up again today — a fresh and frustrated generation of young
 people are refusing to settle for platitudes, instead taking to the 
streets by the millions to demand a new way forward. Digital 
and social media are bringing these conversations, protests,
 strikes and mobilizations to a global audience, uniting a 
concerned citizenry as never before and catalyzing generations to
 join together to take on the greatest challenge that humankind has 

By tapping into some of the learnings, outcomes, and legacy of the
 first Earth Day, Earth Day Network is building a cohesive, coordinated
, diverse movement, one that goes to the very heart of what EDN 
and Earth Day are all about — empowering individuals with the
 information, the tools, the messaging and the communities
 needed to make an impact and drive change.
2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. In honor of 
this milestone, Earth Day Network is launching an ambitious set 
of goals to shape the future of 21st century environmentalism. 
Learn more here
We invite you to be a part of Earth Day and help write many more chapters—struggles and victories—into the Earth Day book.

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