PEOPLE all over the world celebrate Earth Day every April 22. But did you know how this global celebration started?
Forty-three years ago, US Sen. Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin had a light-bulb moment after witnessing how the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, ravaged the environment. He thought of holding a “national teach-in on the environment” for the national media.
According to Earth Day Network, Nelson “realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda.”
Armed with his bright idea and wide network of friends, allies and like-minded individuals, he led over 20 million Americans marching to the streets to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment on April 22, 1970.
The massive protest, the Earth Day Network said, “achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered SpeciesActs.
By 1990, the Earth Day movement became viral. More than 200 million people in 141 countries participated in the global campaign. Earth Day 1990 shored up recycling efforts, paving the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.