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Celebrate Earth Day

Learn how Earth Day got its start

By David Watson | April 5 , 2007
Earth Day is celebrated each year on April 22 and was established to increase awareness of the need to protect the Earth’s natural resources. (Photo: Fancy Photography/Veer)
Earth Day is celebrated each year on April 22 and was established to increase awareness of the need to protect the Earth’s natural resources. (Photo: Fancy Photography/Veer)

Earth Day is a global holiday that celebrates our planet’s environment. Every year on April 22, people host different events to remember the Earth. But Earth Day is not just about appreciating the environment—it’s about preserving it as well.

Environmental activists use Earth Day to increase awareness about issues like global warming and oil spills. They also use the day to urge politicians to pass laws that will help save the environment.

The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970. Democratic Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin started the holiday. Nelson was worried that industrialized countries, like the United States, were too careless with the environment.

After an oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara in 1969, Nelson proposed several reforms or changes.One reform was to hold a national Earth Day every April 22.

Denis Hayes organized the first Earth Day. Hayes went on to lead the Solar Energy Research Institute in Golden, Colorado. John McConnell designed the unofficial flag of the event, the Earth Flag.

More than 20 million Americans celebrated the first Earth Day. Schools and universities around the nation joined in. Students spent the day learning about the environment and discussing ways to cut down pollution. Concerts in major cities honored the day.

Weeks after the event, Congress passed three laws: the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. These laws protect drinking water, wild lands, and animals from people or companies.

Today more than 500 million people in 175 countries celebrate Earth Day! Students spend the day learning about environmental issues, while activists use the day to rally for new environmental policies.

If you want to get involved in Earth Day and see what you can do to help, check out www.earthday.org

EARTH DAY

Celebrate Earth Day with Scholastic News Online! Learn more about how you can help take care of our planet in this special report.

 

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