The History of Earth Day
WORLD EARTH DAY IS a yearly celebration held on April 22, reminding mankind to protect the planet and its inhabitants. The Paris Climate Agreement signed in 2015 aims to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The first Earth Day was held in 1970. It was the beginning of a national movement to raise awareness about the environment. This movement was a harbinger of many environmental legislation that was to follow. In addition to the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act was passed.
The first Earth Day was conceived by Senator Gaylord Nelson. Nelson was inspired by the massive oil spill that occurred in Santa Barbara in 1969, and was motivated to start a movement to persuade the American public to do more to protect the planet.
Senator Nelson thought the best way to raise awareness about the environment was to organize teach-ins on college campuses. To do this, he recruited a Harvard graduate student named David Hayes.
The event was a big hit, and a week-long teach-in was held on several campuses. The media covered the event, and it was a national talking point. In fact, the largest single-day protest in human history was held on Earth Day.
Senator Nelson hoped that by organizing teach-ins on college campuses, he would be able to convince the public to make environmental protection a national priority. He also thought that the national grassroots movement would garner national media attention.