The annual event that raises the consciousness of the environment in people’s minds across the world is fast approaching again. Earth Day has been a pivotal expression of our concern for the planet we share since it was started 45 years ago this coming April 22nd. Perhaps no secular event has ever had a bigger impact on people’s lives in terms of its influence on environmental laws and how people behave with respect to the environment in their daily decisions. Here are some of the 10 coolest facts about this important day and how it has influenced us all.
1. It Is the Largest Secular Holiday in the World
It is the largest secular holiday in the world. The Earth Day Network works with over 20,000 partner organizations in 192 countries to coordinate events for this day. It is estimated that over a billion people take part in Earth Day activities around the world, which makes it the largest secular event on the planet.
2. It Started Nationally and Then Grew Into an International Phenomenon
While Earth Day began in the U.S. on April 22, 1970, it did not go international until 1990. It started out with 200 million people in 141 countries and eventually grew to the mammoth proportions mentioned above.
3. We Can Thank Earth Day for Bringing Us the EPA
The first Earth Day helped push important environmental legislation in the United States. Later in the same year of the first Earth Day ever, the 1970 amendments to the Clean Air Act were passed. It is not seen as any coincidence that this happened right after the dawn of a movement to bring the problems of pollution to the forefront of peoples’ consciousness. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was also created by the end of this same year.
4. It Birthed the Environmental Movement
One of the most important and long lasting Earth Day facts is that the environmental movement was born with the creation of Earth Day in 1970. There were always people concerned about the environment in terms of air and water pollution and making efforts to clean it up, but Earth Day helped to galvanize these concerns into an actual movement with social and political impact.
5. It Brought Greenery to Barren Lands
Afghanistan is known for being a barren and foreboding land with less vegetation than more hospitable areas. In honor of Earth Day in 2011, 28 million trees were planted in this country through the actions of the Earth Day Network.
6. It Changed People’s Thinking in Their Daily Decisions
Earth Day has helped make concern for the environment a priority in how people live their own lives. While this annual event has spurred the environmental movement on to victory on the legislative front, it has also made people think more about their own choices and how they impact the planet we all live on. People are more predisposed to use recyclable materials that won’t end up on a landfill, and the financial and practical impediments to widespread adoption of electric vehicles versus their conventional counterparts is overlooked by many mainly for environmental reasons.
7. Founded by a Wisconsin Senator
Earth Day was founded by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson. His work for the environment also included a stint as counselor for The Wilderness Society starting in 1981. In 1995, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his environmental work by Bill Clinton.
8. Education Was and Still Is the Goal
This now worldwide event began as a teach-in about environmental issues when it started in the United States. This may be why 2,000 colleges along with 10,000 primary and secondary schools participated in the first one.
9. Earth Day’s Organizers Provide Tools to Help You Do Your Part
The Earth Day Network’s EnergyCenter enables people to reduce their personal greenhouse gas emissions. It helps them calculate their current usage and gives tips on how to reduce their carbon footprint. This website and effort fosters the belief that only by everyone doing their part can we fully address the problem of climate change.
10. NASA Helping Out on Earth Day
In 2014, NASA took an active part in Earth Day. Their #GlobalSelfie event asked people to take a photo of themselves outside, and send it to NASA. The space agency then put these pictures on a map of the world for all to see to commemorate their participation in this important day.
These Earth Day facts are just a few of the points of interest about this day. Participation in Earth Day shows you care about the world on which you live. Like it or not, there is currently no other planet that our species can move to if we mess this one up. People act with common cause on this day through various activities including: Going Green with your web hosting, Planting trees, cleaning coral reefs, collecting trash and taking other social or political action to ensure our progeny continue to have a habitable planet to call home.
Do you have any more cool Earth Day facts? Share it in the comments below.