Facts About Earth Day

Origin, Scope, and Plain Old Importance

Facts about Earth Day are not only cool tidbits, they're also important reminders of just how much difference each person's participation makes in this global movement.

Celebrating Earth Day officially first occurred on April 22, 1970. But the origin of Earth Day starts as early as 1963, when Senator Gaylord Nelson, who founded Earth Day, first became concerned about the planet. Although he had the initial idea, Earth Day now belongs to the world.

More Facts About Earth Day

  • The massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in 1969 inspired Senator Nelson to organize Earth Day. He announced to the media a national "teach-in" on the environment.

  • Congressman Pete McCloskey, a conservative Republican, co-chaired the first Earth Day with Senator Nelson. McCloskey recruited Denis Hayes as the National Coordinator.

  • More than 20,000,000 people participated in the first Earth Day, forcing politicians to take notice of the environmental issues.

  • The first Earth Day was focused on the United States and consisted of rallies, demonstrations, and organized protests. They took place coast to coast in parks, colleges, universities, and in small and large towns alike.

  • The first Earth Day is credited with launching the environmental movement. It was supported by the 1970 launch of the United States Environmental Protection Agency by the end of that same year. It was also bolstered by the passage of and expansion over numerous years of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

  • The Earth Day Network was founded by the original organizers of Earth Day in 1990. The EDN promotes year-round environmental citizenship and action, worldwide. Denis Hayes serves as the president and CEO of EDN.

  • In 1990, more than 200,000,000 people participated in the first international Earth Day in over 140 countries.

  • The millennium celebration used both the internet to organize activists and a drum chant to organize villages in Gabon, Africa.

  • The millennium saw 5,000 different environmental groups participating with a focus on global warming and clean energy.

  • In 2010, for Earth Day's 40th Anniversary, EDN brought 225,000 people to the National Mall in Washington DC for a Climate Rally.

  • More than 1,000,000,000 participate in Earth Day today.

  • More than 180 countries participate in Earth Day today.

  • 2012 amassed 40 million environmental service actions towards its 2012 goal of A Billion Acts of Green®.

  • Today, EDN's international network reaches over 22,000 organizations in 192 countries.

Earth Day information is a really good timeline of the environmental movement and how it has grown and changed. Create your own facts about Earth Day by joining next year!


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