The idea behind Earth Day is to set aside a special day every year to honor the Earth by raising awareness for its health and beauty! Although some people celebrate Earth Day on the equinox that happens in March, many people in the United States as well as people in some other countries celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd, which was the day chosen by Senator Gaylord Nelson when he helped to found and promote the holiday in the U.S. in 1970.
Senator Nelson founded the holiday because at the time there was less awareness about the environment than there is today and he wanted to get the attention of not only citizens across the country, but of political leaders and the world, too!
On the very first Earth Day, over 20 million Americans participated in activities to raise awareness for our planet! Today, hundreds of millions of people worldwide participate in activities to celebrate Earth Day by doing everything from teaching and learning about the environment to volunteering with clean-up projects!
Right around the same time as Senator Nelson was organizing the first Earth Day for April 22nd, another environmental activist was working on a similar idea! This man’s name was John McConnell, and his Earth Day celebration was scheduled for the day of the equinox in March! That’s why some people still observe Earth Day in March on the first day of spring or fall (depending on which hemisphere you live in!). "Equinox Earth Day" is the Earth Day observed by the United Nations. – If you’re not sure whether you should celebrate in March or in April, you can always choose both!
What are some Earth Day activities you’ve participated in? What did you learn about the Earth through the projects or lessons you took part in??
Think about some new, different activities you could try to do on the next Earth Day. It can be as simple as putting up recycling bins in your home or cleaning up the litter in a park! – FUN!
Sources & links
“Equinox Earth Day.” The Holiday Spot. 02 Apr. 2010 The Official Site of International Earth Day. 02 Apr. 2010 “Earth Day: An Introduction.” Gaylord Nelson and Earth Day. 2010. Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison. 02 Apr. 2010 "Earth Day." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 02 Apr. 2010 “Earth Day.” 2010. The History Channel website. 2 Apr. 2010