The History and Importance of Earth Day


Shreya Pendse, Editor

April 22 marks Earth Day, a day to recognize and work towards solving environmental concerns.   Recently, such issues, such as climate change, have been in the public eye and are a concern to many, making Earth Day all the more important.

The idea of Earth Day was first proposed in 1970, by Senator Gaylord Nelson, from Wisconsin. It was in response to the many environmental concerns which were being noticed at the time, such as the damage caused by an oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in 1969.

After hearing about Earth Day, many individual citizens, activists, and students became involved in the protests against issues such as air and water pollution from industry, habitat loss, and extinction of species. Around 20 million Americans were involved in these protests. 

These movements did have major impacts, since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was created later that year. Also, over the next few years, the U.S. Congress passed legislation such as the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.

Another major development in the history of Earth Day took place in 1990, when another campaign was organized. This campaign was global, and involved millions of people from 141 countries around the world. This led to environmental issues being more recognized on a global scale, and the U.N. took action as well, by holding the Earth Summit in 1992.

In the year 2000, the focus of Earth Day shifted towards addressing global climate change, and the need for sustainable energy sources. This continued throughout the 2000s, involving millions of people, from around the world. 

Earth Day 2021 is planned to be a three-day event, involving a youth climate summit, an educator’s summit, and also workshops and information about environmental issues. Issues covered include climate information and restoration, reforestation efforts, environmental clean-ups, environmental justice, and more. 

Despite the amount of change that has been achieved since the very first Earth Day in 1970, such as the new regulations on industry, and the creation of environmental legislature, there is still more work to be done. Global climate change and habitat loss, as well as extinction of many species are all issues that need to be addressed. The goal of Earth Day and similar environmental movements is to address these issues, before they can grow into larger problems.