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History of Earth Day

Despite the Earth being about 4.5 billion years old, it has only been formally celebrated for a few decades. April 22nd marks the emergence of the modern environmental movement that we celebrate today.

It all started in 1962, with the release of Rachel Carsons book, Silent Spring, it became an instant hit, discussing how pollution affects living organisms. Leading up to this time however, soot and air pollution were commonly regarded as a booming industry, and most of America was blissfully ignorant to the environmental strain it caused.

Now, this isn’t to say nobody cared about the environment, a senator named Gaylord Nelson made efforts to infuse anti-war protests by spreading awareness about air and water pollution. He, along with two other like-minded men, began to organize teach-ins on college campuses, choosing April 22nd as their date.

The idea quickly caught on, inspiring not only the youth of the time but also a wide variety of faith groups and other organizations. The announcement of the new “Earth Day” title, quickly garnered national media coverage, sparking environmental protests from coast to coast.

In 1970, Earth Day had finally gained support from all political parties and walks of life. This newfound unity would lead to the creation of the United States Environmental ProtectionAgency, followed by the first-ever environmental protection laws. These laws would go on to protect and serve the best interests of our planet and everything that calls it home.

Earth day goes worldwide in 1990, hoisting the environmental crisis onto a much larger stage. People began to focus on pushing for solutions for a greener planet such as recycling, clean energy, and clean water. A record of 184 countries campaigning for global protection further built up local, and national conversations about the subject.

So take this Earth Day to celebrate, reflect, and insight change for someone else. Call your reps and state your demands, review your lifestyle and see where you can make a small but dramatic change, start a conversation with a friend, or simply take a quiet walk in the park. However you choose to spend your Earth Day, just remember to enjoy it!

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