What is Earth Day?

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Here’s a look at what you need to know about Earth Day, which is celebrated every year by more than a billion people in 180 nations around the world.

Facts: Earth Day is celebrated every April 22, but some events take place on the weekends before or after the 22nd.

It was created in the United States to increase public awareness of environmental problems and is now celebrated around the world.

Earth Day is credited with starting the environmental movement in the United States.

History: September 1969 – Sen. Gaylord Nelson (D-WI) proposes the idea for a nationwide teach-in about the environment.

April 22, 1970 – The first Earth Day takes place across America. Approximately 20 million people participate, taking to the streets and parks to demonstrate for environmental causes.

1970 – Congress creates the Environmental Protection Agency and passes the Clean Air Act.

1990 – The twentieth anniversary of Earth Day sparks renewed interest and an increase in activities and participation.

1995 – Sen. Nelson is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his role as Earth Day founder and his work on other environmental issues.

April 22, 2007 – Activists rally on Capitol Hill for drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions – 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

March 23, 2010 – Congress introduces a resolution commemorating the 40th anniversary of Earth Day and honoring its founder.


  • Vasu Murti

    From PETA:

    Would you ever open your refrigerator, pull out sixteen plates of pasta, toss fifteen in the trash, and then eat just one plate of food? How about level five square meters of rain forest for a single meal? That sounds ludicrous, right? But if you’re eating chickens, fish, pigs, cows, eggs, or dairy products, that’s what you’re doing: wasting resources and destroying our environment.

    According to the United Nations, raising animals for food (including land used for grazing and land used to grow feed crops) now uses a staggering 30 percent of the Earth’s land mass. A vegan diet requires 1,100 liters of water per day to produce, while a meat-based diet requires more than 15,000 liters per day. That means that it takes the equivalent of 50 bathtubs of water to produce just one steak.

    And we haven’t even gotten into the staggering 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions that are caused by animal agriculture, according to a report published by the Worldwatch Institute!

    But we do have some good news: Science shows that going vegan is one of the most effective ways to fight climate change as well as one of the most powerful steps that you can take to make your life greener and healthier. It alleviates pressure on the world’s precious resources, helps tackle climate change and world hunger, and radically decreases your own risk of developing life-threatening diseases. And don’t forget that it saves the lives of animals, too!

    So in honor of Earth Day, please take the vegan pledge to save the Earth.

  • Vasu Murti

    “It’s April 22nd and everybody knows today is Earth Day
    “Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday to whoever’s being born
    “And now I’m trying hard to think of something
    “meaningful and worthy, kind of earthy
    “to make everybody ask themselves just

    “What are we doing here?
    “and what are we doing to her?

    “I don’t know
    “What are we gonna do?
    “What are we gonna do?
    “What are we gonna do?

    “2041, the world is gonna end, I’ve got the message
    “from a tiny little man who only said that he’d been sent
    “I’m not a protest singer, I can’t write a song to send a message
    “but it seems to me that this message needed to be sent

    “What are we doing here?
    “And what are we doing to her?

    “I don’t know
    “What are we gonna do?
    “What are we gonna do?
    “What are we gonna do?

    “It’s April 21st and everybody knows today is Earth Day
    “Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday to whoever’s being …

    –Dramarama, “What Are We Gonna Do?” (1991)

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