April 22 is Earth Day. Ok, so we have all heard of it, but few fully understand the true reason for Earth Day and it’s origin. Some believe it is a day for tree hugging hippies to revel in mother earth, and others believe that it is a day devoted to thanking God for His beautiful creation. It can be said that Earth Day is whatever you want it to be. Whatever your beliefs, Earth Day is a day set aside by Americans to celebrate the environment in which we live and to remember what is necessary to preserve it.
Earth Day was founded (per sey) by Gaylord Nelson, a Senator from Wisconson and a long time conservationalist. He announced in 1970 that there would be a National Teach-In in schools across the country and the news wires and papers picked it up. Word spred and Earth Day was born.
Groundbreaking federal legislation followed the success of the first Earth Day. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was established in 1970, followed by the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act of 1972, and the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Part of these bills were the requirement that automobiles use unleaded gasoline, achieve a minimum number of miles-per-gallon of gasoline and be equipped with catalytic converters to reduce the amount of toxic fumes released by automobile exhaust.
Interestingly, there is no centralized group that organizes Earth Day, although there are some organizations that gather lists of events planned around the country. I have listed some of those organizations below as well as a link to a complete story on the origin of Earth Day.
Earth Day 2008 – The Nature Conservancy
Earth Day Network – Earthday.net
What is Earth Day? – America.gov