WORLD EARTH DAY IS a reminder for mankind to protect Mother Earth and species. It has become a yearly milestone for the global environmental movement. It was adopted by the United Nations in Paris in 2016. It is an important day to promote climate protection efforts and to build support for the Paris Agreement.
The first Earth Day, held on April 22, 1970, marked the beginning of a new environmental movement. In response to the event, Congress passed the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.
This first Earth Day was the start of a nationwide grassroots movement to put environment on the national political agenda. It would force politicians to address concerns about the environment. It also led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and several landmark environmental laws.
The Earthrise photo taken by astronauts on the Apollo 8 spacecraft in 1968 helped raise public awareness about the plight of the planet. The photograph was released by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and became popular.
The United States had been concerned about pollution and air pollution for years before the first Earth Day. But before 1970, the issue was not a national concern.
In 1963, Senator Nelson joined President Kennedy on his national conservation tour. Nelson also helped organize teach-ins on college campuses. He thought that by organizing such teach-ins, the public would be more alert to environmental problems.
Senator Nelson persuaded Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey to become co-chair of the teach-ins. McCloskey had a strong interest in conservation. He recruited young activist Denis Hayes to run the teach-ins on college campuses.