Picture from One Earth Film Festival, www.oneearthfilmfest.org
What started out as a movement in response to a massive oil spill In 1969 in Santa Barbara CA, Earth Day was created to show support for
environmental issues and to teach future generations about the need to protect our planet. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson then a US senator from Wisconsin realized if he could transfer that anti-war energy and enthusiasm into a public consciousness about air and water pollution, it could force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. To insure college student participation, the date, April 22 nd , was selected because it falls between Spring Break and Final Exams.
On the first Earth Day in 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy sustainable
environment in massive coast to coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.
Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air (http://www.epa.gov/air/caa/), Clean Water (http://www.epa.gov/owow/watershed/wacademy/acad2000/cwa/), and Endangered Species (http://www.epa.gov/regulations/laws/esa.html) Acts.
Earth Day has gone global and is now observed in 192 countries and celebrated by billions of people around the work. Over the years, Earth
Day has grown from localized grassroots efforts to a sophisticated network of environmental activism. Events can be found everywhere from tree planting activities at your local park to online Twitter parties that share information about environmental issues.
How can you get involved? The possibilities are endless. Pick up trash in your neighborhood. Go to an Earth Day festival. Make a commitment to reduce your food waste or electricity use. Organize an event in your community. Plant a tree. Plant a garden. Help to organize a community garden. Visit a national park. Talk to your friends and family about environmental issues such as climate change, pesticide use, and pollution like single use plastics. 2020 will mark the 50 th anniversary of Earth Day. Interested in finding out about plans for this big event, visit the global coordinator, Earth Day Network, https://www.earthday.org/earthday/countdown-to-2020/