Throughout history, people have observed Earth Day. It is a day to promote environmental awareness. Many people celebrate the day by picking up roadside trash or recycling, planting trees, or engaging in conservation programs.
Earth Day is now observed in more than 193 countries around the world. It began as a single celebration in 1970, but has evolved into an international movement.
In 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin wanted to focus on promoting environmental awareness. He decided to organize teach-ins on college campuses. He recruited a team of 85 people to help with this effort. During their efforts, they brought together disparate groups and led the way in promoting Earth Day internationally.
The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970. Thousands of people participated in different programs to promote environmental awareness. The events were larger than any protests that had been held at that time.
The events led to the passing of environmental legislation in the United States. The Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act were two examples. Other legislation aimed at protecting the environment included the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Senator Nelson believed that a national grassroots movement would make politicians take environmental issues seriously. He also believed that by bringing these issues to the forefront, the media would pay more attention to the movement.
The success of the first Earth Day led to many environmental laws being passed in the United States. The Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Clean Air Act all followed.