Earth Day is coming up this Wednesday, so I thought today we’d talk a little about the history of this great day on our planet. It’s a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for our Mother Earth.
In September 1969 at a conference in Seattle, Washington, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin announced a “nationwide grassroots demonstration on the environment” that would be celebrated the following Spring. This announcement came at a time of great concern about overpopulation and when there was a strong movement towards "Zero Population Growth."
Senator Nelson proposed the nationwide environmental protest in order to thrust the environment onto the national agenda.
"It was a gamble," he recalls, "but it worked."
April 22, 1970, Earth Day marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement as approximately 20 million Americans participated, with a goal of a healthy, sustainable environment.
The man who coordinated all those people, Denis Hayes led the organization of massive coast-to-coast rallies. There were thousand of colleges and universities organizing protests against the abuse and deterioration of the environment. Groups that had fought against pollution of factories, steel mills, and power plants, organizing against oil spills, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways and wildlife extinction all suddenly came together under one umbrella.
By Earth Day on April 22, 1990, the number answering the rally cry had reached 200 million, with a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide. It also helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
The Earth Day in 2000 focused on global warming and a push for clean energy. It combined the big-picture feistiness of the first Earth Day with the international grassroots activism of Earth Day 1990. It also had the Internet helping to link activists around the world as 5,000 environmental groups reached out to hundreds of millions of people in a record 184 countries. Earth Day 2000 sent the message loud and clear that citizens the world 'round wanted quick and decisive action on clean energy. Earth Day 2007 was one of the largest Earth Days to date, with an estimated billion people participating in the activities in thousands of places like Kiev, Ukraine; Caracas, Venezuela; Tuvalu; Manila, Philippines; Togo; Madrid, Spain; London; and New York.
Earth Day 2009 is expected to push forward with more driving force, bringing over half a billion people together with one goal and focus: to stop deterioration and pollution of the planet; to undo damage where possible and to provide a better world for all of us to live in. We hope you will join in this wondrous cause with us.